- Since the 1980s, there’s been an increased focus on healthcare disparities in the U.S., yet health inequalities persist.
- PINC AI™ Applied Sciences (PAS) is committed to addressing the challenges and advancing health equity through real-world, data-driven research and solutions co-designed with health systems and life sciences partners.
- Our work, utilizing the PINC AI™ Healthcare Database (PHD), is helping reveal health disparities to inform evidence-based, sustainable solutions that address inequities in care and resource allocation.
Health equity means every person has the opportunity to achieve their best health. To support efforts to advance health equity, we believe that disparities in care must be identified with robust health-equity-related data that is standardized across health systems.
This data must include accurate and consistent collection of factors that affect people’s lives and result in health disparities across race/ethnicity, age, ability, geography, economic status and other social conditions. These factors include access to healthcare, bias/discrimination and other social drivers of health such as education and economic opportunities.i Bias and discrimination – or the unfair treatment of people or groups based on characteristics such as race, age, gender identity or sexual orientation – exists in many systems in society including healthcare. Racism has historically and continues to have a negative impact on communities of color.
Yet, despite considerable attention to health inequalities since the 1980s, preventable differences still exist.1 The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the disproportionate burden of illness, death and healthcare needs as well as heightened public awareness of ongoing racial and economic disparities, making health equity a national priority. For example, Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to suffer from cardiovascular disease, maternal mortality and poor cancer outcomes. Moreover, Black patients are more likely than white patients to receive care at under-resourced safety-net hospitals that consistently score lower on patient experience compared to non-safety-net hospitals.2
To help address these challenges and advance health equity, the PINC AI™ Applied Sciences (PAS) team is committed to four strategic pillars:
- Supporting the collection and use of accurate equity-related data.
- Convening and engaging stakeholders to co-create solutions.
- Driving action through research and disseminating solutions through the diverse Premier network of more than 4,400 hospitals and health system members.
- Improving representative clinical-trial diversity.
One way PAS is driving action through research is through patient- and community-centered approaches.
PAS is working with life sciences organizations, community organizations, patient advocacy groups and health systems to co-create solutions that can help reduce disparities, improve outcomes and deliver equitable healthcare for all. At the foundation of this work is patient centricity, a philosophy and approach engaging patients (inclusive of caregivers, families and communities), partnering with and empowering them to gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health.
Strengthening Research with Real-World Data
Public health and clinical researchers are continuously seeking more information about social drivers of health including their impact on health outcomes, costs and healthcare resource utilization. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start requiring providers to screen and report on social drivers of health starting in 2024.3 Information that must be collected includes data on food insecurity, housing status, transportation needs, financial challenges and interpersonal safety concerns.
With this information, researchers and clinicians are better able to analyze disparities and support communities and health systems to develop solutions including connections to community resources, treatment options and access to care.
Combining patient and community voices with the standardized, comprehensive data contained within the PINC AI™ Healthcare Database (PHD) can lead to deeper insights into health disparities and informs solutions to address drivers of health and advance health equity. This robust data can provide a longitudinal view of the patient journey, illuminating critical touchpoints in care, and promote innovation and patient-centered care that incorporates patient preferences, needs, values and goals.
Advancing Health Equity Through Collaboration
To advance health equity through collaboration, PAS is planning regional health summits and the first will be held on Oct. 26. The goal of these health summits is to engage health system and life science partners in collaborative research and ways to advance equity through patient- and community-centered approaches.
Reducing disparities across health outcomes will require a diverse and inclusive healthcare environment where all patients can thrive and have the opportunity to achieve optimal health outcomes. This will take everyone from life sciences organizations to health systems working together to develop solutions that can be customized to patients’ needs and delivered to the right patients at the right time at the right cost.
For more on this topic:
- Learn more about the PINC AI™ Health Equity Collaborative for health systems.
1. Murray CJL, Gakidou EE, Frenk J. Critical reflection – health inequalities and social group differences: what should we measure? Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77:537–44.
2. Ojo A, Erfani P, Shah N (2020) Value-Based Health Care Must Value Black Lives. Health Affairs. Doi: 10.1377/hblog20200831.419320
3. FY 2023 IPPS Final Rule Home Page. (2022, August 1). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.cms.gov/medicare/acute-inpatient-pps/fy-2023-ipps-final-rule-home-page#FinalRule and can locate specific discussion of the three new health-equity related quality measure starting on page 49191 linked here.
i. We are using the terminology social drivers of health to shift from a deterministic view of the factors that influence health to one that acknowledges individual and collective agency and promote systems accountability to change structures that create barriers to people achieving their full health potential. Drivers of health is a term that helps us orient towards investing in factors that improve health and advance health equity.
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