Tools for Achieving Health Equity
There are a lot of reasons as to why is health equity important to society, but to achieve it, things are needed to be considered. To achieve health equity, a community must develop and use community-friendly tools for measuring progress. These tools should include metrics and data relevant to the community’s needs. They also play an essential role in raising community awareness and building multisectoral collaboration. The devices can also help communities evaluate the effectiveness of solutions.
Tools for achieving health equity should consider the factors influencing health inequities. For example, the model for healthcare costs can be used to simulate the impact of different strategies across different geographic areas. It can also include factors influencing healthy behaviors, including socioeconomic and social determinants.
The Pursuing Equity initiative was designed with this purpose in mind: to help healthcare organizations achieve health equity. It was a two-year experiment that included eight healthcare organizations in the U.S., varying in size, geographic location, and patient populations. The initiative aims to build on the principles of the IHI White Paper on Achieving Health Equity: A Guide for Health Care Organizations. It offers a five-component framework to support health systems in achieving health equity. It also provides practical tips and examples for building coalitions.
Inequities in Healthcare
Inequities in health care affect both people and organizations in profound ways. Inequitable access to care will lead to increased healthcare costs and lower productivity. Healthcare stakeholders must act now to minimize these consequences. Continuing health inequities are not an option. Improving healthcare equity is crucial to people’s well-being and the world.
Healthcare inequalities result in unnecessary spending, limited access to preventive care, and delayed diagnosis. A study from Deloitte’s health actuarial practice estimates the direct and indirect costs of healthcare inequity in the U.S. and estimates spending through 2040. Healthcare delivery can combine efficiency and equity. Providing equitable healthcare makes healthcare systems more effective since a healthy population needs less medical attention. This translates into fewer doctor visits, lower healthcare costs per patient, and improved health results.
Barriers to Health Equity
Barriers to health equity can be severe, but they can be addressed. There are many ways to do this, including improving access to health care. For instance, improving transportation can help those living in rural areas get to medical appointments. Providing public transit and bike lanes is also helpful. Ride-sharing services are also an excellent option for those living in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Many states are also working to identify and address the causes of health disparities. For instance, redlining and other structural racism can contribute to health inequities. To address these issues, states are developing integrated state health equity plans and working across agencies to implement them. Health equity initiatives must be community-driven and centered on the community’s health needs.
Importance of Addressing Social Determinants of Health
Socioeconomic status is one of the essential non-medical determinants of health. It relates to factors such as income, family income, education, and access to healthcare services. In addition, people’s occupations and social networks can affect their health and well-being. As a result, addressing social determinants of health is essential for improving overall health and reducing health inequalities.
Social determinants affect people’s health not just during episodes of illness and injury but also daily. According to the World Health Organization, these factors influence a person’s quality of life and predict health outcomes. In this context, healthcare delivery systems must find ways to address these factors, such as social prescribing, identifying patient support systems, and connecting patients to these resources.