Health equity is the “attainment of the highest level of health for all.”
People should have the same opportunities to achieve a healthy lifestyle. But that requires changing policies, laws, systems, environments, and practices to reduce inequities that prevent everyone from having a chance at a healthy life.
Often, this involves addressing poverty, racism, discrimination, and other socioeconomic barriers. This is a complicated issue that requires many resources to manage.
Health equity means everyone has equal access to the best possible health care. This can include affordable, high-quality healthcare and community resources to help improve a person’s health. It’s also about understanding why some people can achieve these things while others don’t.
Educating yourself about health equity issues is one of the first steps you can take. Fortunately, many institutions offer training and resources to help you learn about this critical topic.
As a result, you’re likely in a better position to recognize problems with healthcare equity and how you can address them. In addition, you can use your newfound knowledge to improve patient outcomes and increase your reputation for innovation and quality.
A quick search online will reveal many free and low-cost resources to educate yourself about health equity issues. You can also find local and state organizations that provide training on the topic.
To be a true champion of improving population health, you need to know the proper steps to make your practice an effective partner in this effort. This will require an open mind and a lot of hard work. But it’sIt’s worth it to you, your patients, and the communities you serve.
Identify the problem
Health equity is a complex issue. It involves various factors, including policies and social, economic, and environmental conditions. It can affect everyone, including people with more resources and power.
Health disparities are a form of health inequity that negatively affect health and quality of life. These inequities affect people of color, low-income people, people with disabilities, women, people with limited English proficiency, and others.
To achieve health equity, individuals must identify the problem and take action to change it. This can be a political or community effort or a personal struggle.
It can involve educating yourself on the issues, learning to identify biases, and taking steps to remove them. It also means evaluating your progress and making changes when needed.
Some health organizations, such as healthcare systems, can directly impact health equity by incorporating nonmedical vital signs into their health assessments and working with communities to ensure that patients from underserved populations can access the services they need.
It can also mean paying employees living wages, moving into deprived areas to build new hospitals, and developing cultural competency training for physicians. These efforts will help healthcare organizations address health equity issues and improve patient outcomes.
Many health equity issues are complex and challenging, but there is plenty that quality improvers can do to address them. For instance, healthcare organizations can prioritize health equity and invest in the right resources, infrastructure, and programs.
However, addressing health inequities can be difficult and time-consuming. It often requires a multifaceted approach and may require the support of partners from outside the organization.
You must take action and keep track of progress to handle these challenges. By documenting your goals, tasks, milestones, and deadlines, you can better assess your progress, set new targets, and adjust your plan if necessary.
For example, suppose you want to increase access to medical care for a community. In that case, you need to focus on the types of services available in that area and whether they are accessible. This might include deploying mobile health clinics, expanding health literacy programming, or implementing community engagement programs to connect people to these services.
Health inequities occur when there are differences in the opportunities and resources that people have to get healthy and stay healthy. Social, economic, and environmental conditions cause these differences. These are often called health determinants. These determinants include living and working conditions, education, income, neighborhood characteristics, social inclusion, and access to medical care. They can also result from systems and structures that privilege certain groups and underserve others.
Health equity is the social justice principle that all people should have fair and equal access to opportunities to be healthy. It reflects ethical and human rights concerns and is one of the four fundamental values underpinning the Healthy People 2020 objectives.
Health inequalities arise from systematic differences in the social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health. These are known as determinants of health.
Health disparities are often due to poverty, structural racism, and discrimination. However, many health systems have started efforts to reduce these inequities and improve outcomes by making health equity a strategic priority and investing in the right resources, infrastructure, and programs.
A health equity approach can be practical but requires time and commitment to the cause. Some health systems have started by adding nonmedical vital signs to their health assessments and partnering with community organizations to connect underserved populations with the services they need to be healthy.
The goal is to make health equity a national imperative so all people can reach their total health and well-being potential. This means that society as a whole should take action to close health disparities and that individuals should strive to achieve health equity in their own lives.