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Health Equity Can be achieved by Using Data Efficiently

The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light – and exacerbated – existing Health disparities in the United States, notably among Black and Latinx individuals. Many Health equity advocates have emphasized the need for data in tackling disparity, stating that fixing an issue about which we have little information is difficult.

However, according to Kellie Goodson, director of Vizient’s performance improvement programs, not all data collection is equally beneficial in this aspect. She claims that this grouping can obscure fundamental variations in how vulnerable persons and groups obtain care. Kellie Goodson said, “Health is all about data. But what we do with the data is we aggregate the data in basically everything.”

One Seattle-based Health organization, for example, observed that patients were frequently showing up for colonoscopies that were not adequately prepared. When the data was broken down by language, the staff discovered that Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking patients had the highest rates of showing up unprepared.

She hasn’t yet encountered a complicated intervention. When contemplating quality improvement, patients, and their lives, it’s vital to remember structural racism, which has existed for millennia. These data-driven decisions have a significant impact. When particular work is done to assist the most vulnerable patients, the outcomes for all patients improve. That has been demonstrated numerous times.

These adjustments, according to Goodson, may not necessitate complex activities, but they can have significant consequences. Goodson, who will speak at HIMSS21, hopes that participants will leave with the understanding that “perfect” does not have to be the enemy of “good,” particularly when it comes to data.

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