Alliance expands focus on healthcare equity in 2023
The health of all Washingtonians has been a driving force behind the Washington Health Alliance since we expanded beyond the Puget Sound in 2013.
Now, we plan to increase our efforts on driving equity in health care across our state. There cannot be quality in health care without first addressing equity.
We’ve long known that barriers exist in our communities directly impacting the quality of the care we deliver in Washington. However, what if we could target those most affected and find solutions that ultimately move the market toward a common goal?
In addition to measuring quality outcomes, the Alliance intends to expand our trusted reporting, including the annual Community Checkup, to steer our focus to where disparities and inequities are the greatest. Armed with this analysis, we can work directly with our provider and health plan members to engage in thoughtful discussions and actions that identify barriers that impact optimal outcomes.
Utilizing the Neighborhood Atlas from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Center for Health Disparities Research, the Alliance reports will now include the Area Deprivation Index. Based on measures that were defined by the Health Resources & Services Administration, ADI allows for grouping based on the level of socioeconomic challenge in a region of interest.
It is one thing to have the data, it is another to do something about it. In addressing healthcare disparities, the overarching goal is to serve everyone by enabling different strategies based on the needs of different groups. By setting the clinical outcome standards for the entire population, everyone will benefit. At the same time, the hard work is understanding and addressing the fact that different groups need different support. The path to achieving high-quality outcomes will be different based on the needs of each community.
While this is an unprecedented level of analysis in Washington state, the Alliance is confident our community will use this as a catalyst for action, creating meaningful positive change.
With our more than 185 member organizations, we intend to start to highlight consequential, strategic objectives that can be achieved through targeted measures including the alignment of provider payment to improve equity. In 2023, we plan to host a three-hour workgroup with many key stakeholders where experts can discuss actions in line with what was brought to light in Community Checkup and Total Cost of Care.
The Alliance looks forward to working with our members and the community at large to drive meaningful healthcare changes in 2023. As always, we are in this together for the benefit of all Washingtonians.