Nearly a third of all US adults and children require equitable opportunities to experience health and healthcare. But the story does not end with providing medical insurance coverage to citizens or by promoting lifestyle choices which are healthier. There is an imperative need to identify and address socio-economic disparities which lead to differences in clinical outcomes. However, with a rising number of provider contracts becoming value-based in nature, there is an increasing organizational focus on reducing cost of care. This might take focus away from the integration of health equity measures into the organizational strategy, creating a challenging situation for all stakeholders.
Additionally, healthcare systems are under pressure to be more resilient in an increasingly complex macroeconomic, regulatory, and consumerized environment. Simultaneously, health equity has been named the first pillar of CMS’s 2022 strategy, is at the heart of USAID’s Vision for Health System Strengthening 2030, and the CMS is progressively making health equity a focus of its programs. That makes health equity a priority for all health systems and provider organizations.
The good news is that focusing on health equity creates opportunities for health systems to provide improved access to care for socially and economically vulnerable communities. Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) can help care managers understand a patient’s future risk of disease development or progression, and help incorporate health equity into organizational strategy to achieve clinical, financial, and social objectives. This complementarity between health equity and value-based care can be realized by using data and technology to identify patient needs beyond the clinical realm, and empower physicians and care teams by integrating Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) at every step of the care journey to advance population health.
Comprehensive data and analytics are crucial to ensuring a provider has a robust, objectively guided, and successful health equity strategy. With value-based care models expanding into specialty care, an organizational health equity strategy has become essential for all healthcare organizations.