Healthcare organizations play a key role in offering access to care, employing, and motivating skilled workers, and acting as social safety nets in their communities. They, along with life sciences organizations, serve on the front lines of addressing health equity. The industry is quickly moving toward more accountability and prioritization of DE&I initiatives.
Many health systems have accelerated momentum around diversity, equity, and inclusion programs since the pandemic, installing DE&I officers or, at minimum, zealously publishing equity statements. Two plus years into the pandemic, significant work remains, but DE&I is now more firmly positioned in the healthcare landscape. As we prepare to move into 2023, the momentum is continuing to accelerate.
Here are three trends that analysts and industry experts are talking about:
The Emergence of Healthcare’s Quintuple Aim
The healthcare industry has long been dedicated to supporting the triple and, subsequently, the quadruple aim. The purpose of these is to highlight the most important and equally prioritized goals of the healthcare industry:
- Deliver better patient outcomes
- Reduce the cost of care
- Improve the patient experience
- Improve provider experiences
According to analysts at Forrester, health equity has become the fifth equal pillar.
While the quadruple aim was well intentioned, it was missing a key factor. You cannot truly improve health outcomes without first building empathy into every touchpoint in the patient journey. Patient outcomes cannot advance in the presence of health disparity, and the patient experience cannot be improved without equal access to technology and providers.
With health equity quickly becoming one of the most important goals of the healthcare industry, it is important for healthcare organizations (HCOs) to prioritize their DE&I initiatives. It is necessary for achieving the first four goals.
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Adding Equity to Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
According to Employee Benefit News, healthcare executives are beginning to prioritize equity. While HCOs have been considering diversity and inclusion for some time now, they are starting to invest in making their practices more equitable. Ivan Hall, senior principal adviser of diversity, equity and inclusion at Gartner, shares that the answer lies in intersectionality.
Many HCOs are incorporating this thinking into their organizations through women-led, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC employee resource groups. It’s is a great first step, but companies must begin to think bigger. Questioning how these identities relate with intersectionality in mind can highlight the complex struggles that the groups face. HCOs asking these questions will have a better understanding of how these groups interact with healthcare and their employers, and be better enabled to provide meaningful support.
Accelerating Health Equity with New Accreditation Standards
According to Modern Healthcare’s September 5th, 2022 print issue, The Joint Commission, an accrediting body for more than 22,000 provider organizations and programs across the US, unveiled new accreditation standards at Modern Healthcare’s Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Symposium. These are being established with the intent of accelerating equity efforts within HCOs, by holding leadership accountable.
Some of the new directives guiding healthcare leaders include:
- Designating an officer to lead strategy for reducing health disparities and screening patients for SDOH
- Adding demographic breakdowns to quality and safety data
- Requiring an action plan to eliminate identified health disparities
- Tracking the action plan’s progress to keep internal leaders and staff up-to-date
With regulatory and financial incentives, as well as pressure from the industry as a whole, prioritizing health equity will continue to be top-of-mind for HCOs. It’s more important than ever that healthcare leaders are holding themselves and their organizations accountable for eliminating health disparities.
According to Modern Healthcare, the best DE&I programs and efforts have measurable goals and encourage accountability.
Healthcare Leaders Turn to Us
Perficient is dedicated to enabling healthcare and life sciences organizations to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within their companies. Our healthcare practice is comprised of experts who understand the unique challenges facing the industry. The 10 largest health systems and 10 largest health insurers in the U.S. have counted on us to support their end-to-end digital success. Modern Healthcare has also recognized us as the fourth largest healthcare IT consulting firm. With more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Perficient is a trusted, end-to-end, global digital consultancy.
We bring pragmatic, strategically-grounded know-how to our clients’ initiatives. And our work gets attention – not only by industry groups that recognize and award our work but also by top technology partners that know our teams will reliably deliver complex, game-changing implementations. Most importantly, our clients demonstrate their trust in us by partnering with us again and again. We are incredibly proud of our 90% repeat business rate because it represents the trust and collaborative culture that we work so hard to build every day within our teams and with every client.
Contact us to learn how we can help you plan and implement a successful DE&I initiative for your organization.