Thanks for everyone who joined our online event in June on Health Disparities. We hope you enjoy the video.

Mark Friedberg, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, SVP, Performance Measurement & Improvement
Leon A. Boston, MobileODT, CEO
Lucienne Ide, Health Equity & Access Leadership (HEAL) Coalition, Co-chair & Founder & CEO, Rimidi.
Thomas F. Busby, Outcome Capital, LLC, Vice President (Moderator)

As panelists explored the topic of technology’s role in health disparities, discussion ranged from sources of disparity, to the responsibility of each healthcare system stakeholder, to whether technology can pose harm.  Read on to learn more:

  • Geography reveals a certain set of disparities – urban environments can have within them huge life expectancy gaps of more than 10 years, while rural communities have much higher indices on comorbidities and experience many challenges in access to care.
  • Payers in the US are trying to address some of the health equity problems plaguing the country with “equity audits”, including broad mandates of “Seeing, Understanding, and Acting”.  However, their efforts can be hampered by not having much high quality, standard data; members often choose not to share information such as race and ethnicity, leading to less than 5% of the member base including this data.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA is beginning to ask its vendors: 1) how do you measure the health equity of the services you provide? 2) once you measure, what do you do about it?
  • Providers’ efforts to address disparities also suffer from data accuracy issues.  When was the data entered? Who entered it? Was it taken by a proxy for the patient, or even assumed?
  • Education often precedes all else, and importantly, to overcome disparities we must examine if we are offering it in a culturally appropriate way, and in a way that builds trust that may have been broken or lacking historically with a segment of the population.
  • It is also important to leverage every member of the care team (from social workers, ancillary services to nurses and doctors) to help build trust and create cultural bonds, facilitating care for those who face disparities.

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