Using Data to Achieve Health Equity

Using Data to Achieve Health Equity

Using a data-driven approach to reduce health inequities can help you identify communities most harmed by inequities and implement solutions to address them. This includes prioritizing the most vulnerable and harmed communities, focusing on the social determinants of health, and measuring health inequities.

Reduce health disparities

Increasing health equity is important for improving the nation’s health, and for improving its economic prosperity. The United States has long faced health disparities, especially for people of color. People of color have lower life expectancy and a higher rate of death.

Longstanding disparities have been challenged by a number of initiatives launched by the federal government, local communities, and private organizations. The Office of Minority Health has worked with states to identify policies that promote health equity, including expansion of community health workers. The Office is also focusing on sustaining health equity policies.

The Office of Minority Health has three overarching programmatic priorities for FY 2020 and 2021: strengthening cultural competence of healthcare providers, ensuring the sustainability of health equity policies, and promoting the spread of health equity policies.

Prioritize the most vulnerable and harmed communities

Getting the most out of your health care dollar by prioritizing the most vulnerable and harmed communities is a good place to start. It can also help reduce unnecessary health care costs, and can prevent future health disparities from happening.

Health inequity refers to differences in health status, medical coverage, and access to care. These disparities can be attributed to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, and more. They also can be related to social determinants, such as good housing, healthy food, and education.

In the past two decades, major attention has been paid to health inequity. Although there are many ways to combat health inequity, it is important to prioritize the most vulnerable and harmed communities to achieve health equity.

Health inequity is a major problem that has been around for many decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defined health inequities as “differences in health status among individuals.” It is not only a problem in health care, but also in society at large.

Focus on the social determinants of health

Taking the focus on the social determinants of health to achieve health equity can be a powerful way to improve the quality of life for all. When we address social factors that influence health and illness, we can reduce long-standing inequities and create healthier communities. In fact, many studies have shown that the social determinants of health account for 30 to 55 percent of health outcomes.

Health inequities are differences in health status, often due to inequalities in resources or opportunities. Health inequities are preventable and avoidable. If we want to move forward toward health equity, we need to look at all of the factors that influence health.

Social determinants include things like poverty, housing conditions, education, employment, and access to health care. These factors can affect both health and behavior, and may be more important than lifestyle choices.

Measure health disparities

Increasing the focus on measuring health disparities is a critical step in the promotion of equity. There are a variety of frameworks that can guide quantitative analysis of public health efforts to reduce disparities. These frameworks also provide organizations with a tool to assess changes that are reducing inequities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health disparities as differences in health and disease between groups. These differences can be measured in access to health care, disease incidence, and treatment outcomes. There are other factors that contribute to health disparities, including geographic location, race/ethnicity, disability, social status, and genetics. Health disparities are costly to society and limit the overall health of a nation.

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) addresses health equity through research, programs, and tools. The office is also committed to supporting state and local health equity-promoting policies. The center works to increase the utilization of community health workers, strengthen cultural competency among healthcare providers, and support community coalitions.

Implement a data-driven approach to reducing inequities

Using data to identify inequities in health care requires a comprehensive approach that includes all the factors at play. In addition to the standard metrics of health care, policymakers need a clear definition of equity and specific goals.

Health systems are ramping up efforts to address social determinants of health. These factors include social, economic, and environmental conditions that affect a wide variety of quality-of-life outcomes. As health systems begin to integrate social determinants into their strategic plans, they will be able to better tailor their efforts to address individual needs.

Health systems can also benefit from technology companies who can help make evidence-based health information more accessible. This may include developing products that will guide users to relevant resources.

For example, Google’s Director of Health Equity, Ivor Horn, oversees YouTube Health, a website that provides evidence-based medical data. Similarly, health IT legacy player Cerner has partnered with artificial intelligence company Jvion to develop a platform that can help health systems better understand SDOH factors.

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