IMPAQ President Adaeze Enekwechi, PhD, spoke on humanizing the social determinants of health at Revel Health’s “Social Determinants Up Close and Personal” webinar event on August 25. The virtual event convened a panel of experts to discuss strategies for reducing bias, improving access to care, and other important steps in advancing health equity.
- Sara Ratner (Moderator), Senior Vice President, Government Programs & Strategic Initiatives, Revel Health
- Craig Kennedy, President & CEO, Medicaid Health Plans of America
- Andrew Parker, Founder & CEO, Papa
- Scott Megill, Coriell Life Sciences, Innovation Lab Presenter
Bridging the Tech Gap for Telehealth Equity
With increased demand of teleservices, the pandemic has exposed a greater distinction between the haves and the have-nots. When session moderator Sara Ratner asked “What is needed to bridge the tech gap?” Dr. Enekwechi stressed that we need to use telehealth in a way that meets the needs of each customer.
“We must refine our service offerings, as plans, payers and employers, to meet the needs of the end users. We have to think about accessibility to meet all of the people we are serving,” said Dr. Enekwechi. “Otherwise, we run the risk of leaving a whole section of people behind at a particularly tenuous time during this pandemic.”
Recognizing Implicit Bias
During the event, Dr. Enekwechi also emphasized that we all have implicit bias within ourselves, and that it must be identified and addressed to reduce inequities in healthcare driven by how we treat patients. “If someone is subject to implicit biases that are negative, it can have an adverse impact on their health,” she warned.
People are judged on their income levels and what type of insurance they have; assumptions are made based on several factors such as race, gender, age, profession, geography, and more. “We must be aware of and recognize our assumptions,” she said, adding that the next step is to hold ourselves accountable so that equitable care is provided for all populations regardless of their sociodemographic status. This involves not only training, and the hiring process, but also payment and delivery systems.
For more on information on IMPAQ’s work in health equity, please contact us.