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Data Used Effectively Towards Health Equity

The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light – and exacerbated – established health disparities in the United States, especially among Black and Latinx people. Many Health  advocates have emphasized the importance of data in resolving inequity, stating that fixing an issue about which we have little knowledge is difficult.

However, according to Kellie Goodson, director of Vizient’s performance management services, not all data collection is equally helpful in this regard. Kellie Goodson said, “What we need to do in all our healthcare systems is we need to disaggregate the data and find out who those vulnerable patients are – and we need to examine our processes, and make adjustments to them, and make sure they’re working for all vulnerable populations.”

She claims that this aggregation will obscure significant disparities in how poor individuals and groups receive care. Goodson cites a few examples of when healthcare programs looked at data through the prism of individual patient groups and found results. One Seattle-based Health system, for example, found that patients were often turning up for colonoscopies that were not adequately prepared.

When it comes to quality improvement, patients, and their lives, data-driven decisions have a significant effect, particularly when considering the institutional racism that has existed for centuries.

These improvements, according to Goodson, do not necessitate complex behavior, but they can have tremendous consequences. Goodson, who will speak at HIMSS21, hopes that attendees will leave with the understanding that “perfect” does not have to be the enemy of “good,” especially when it comes to data.

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