Spotlight On

Prioritizing Health Equity In Patient Communities

Why Its A Winning Strategy For Life Science Companies

Features

Life Science Can Strengthen Health Equity.

As the world charts its way towards a new normal, there’s a growing population in need of care that is disadvantaged within a system that provides little equity in healthcare. Health equity is an important factor in how global communities go forward to promote fairness and justice across diverse populations. 

Although the scenario of health inequity continues to look grim due to the retrenchment and neglect of the provisions of public good in health matters.  Life science organization’s should share in the social change that can bridge the gap, partnering on patient health literacy and improving demographic disparities in research. Limited health literacy has been associated with high health system costs, with over 73 (US $) billion dollars spent on medical costs associated with communities that had limited health literacy (1998, US National Academy on an Aging Society).

With earnings of ~1.2 trillion dollars in 2019, life science has invested in solving the most pressing health crisis. In addition over 90% have contributed to philanthropic organizations and or, have lent time to community outreach. Building partnerships within community organizations to demonstrate their social commitment on health equity extends their impact and will have a resounding effect on patient lives.

Limited health literacy Costs Estimated ~US$ 73 Billion/Yr

Although health inequalities are unavoidable life science companies can serve as a significant instigator to better stabilize and strengthen patient/customer trust and efforts to sustain a robust global economy. Transformative strategies in drug development to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) can help to tap into unparalleled opportunities to solve health risks associated with health literacy. AI has the potential to contribute to patient behavior management, positively impacting health and healthy conditions.  AI has been used to strengthen patient health literacy and reduce health risks by delivering prevention messages. This is particularly useful with high risk groups that are matched with health educators and given assessments to determine their knowledge of how to prevent poor outcomes associated with their behavior. 

Estimates show that if racial disparities in preventable deaths were eliminated, the annualized number of lives saved ranges from 475 to 812, which translates into $1.2 billion to $2.9 billion per year in economic savings (in 2017 medical care inflation-adjusted dollars). Life science companies should work to fully embrace the diversity of patients they serve. By setting standards to ensure patient studies increase the representation of minorities and women in clinical studies. Although this may vary based on diseases that disproportionately affect one demographic group over another. A standard should be utilized to alleviate assertions of biases in clinical trial volunteers. As well as statistical planning to include groups that have been persistently underrepresented in drug development research. 

78% of Consumers Are Looking for Brands That Emphasize Social Responsibility

Additional opportunities in health equity should also be identified through the digital age that can supplement patient health tools. These tools go beyond patient management and can provide opportunities to teach patients how to advocate for themselves through digital health. Digital tools have several benefits in health equity and literacy that include; improving access to health care services, especially for those in hard-to-reach areas. As well as improvements in drug safety, quality of healthcare, and efficiencies in securing better access to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. High literacy and engagement of diverse patient populations not only helps to contribute more to communities that obtain, process, and understand basic health information but improves adherence to treatment regimens. Overall improving health literacy and the representation on issues of equality and the elimination of disparities, which are core values in the field of research is essential. It also provide patients the opportunity to play an active role as co-managers in their health decisions while improving health outcomes and overall quality of life.  

Life science companies have a unique opportunity to partner and empower neighborhoods and social communities to attain equal health access and economic security. Addressing the ethical and socioeconomic issues in health inequity highlights the leadership many communities are looking for when selecting a brand to partner with. Corporate leadership can begin by leading a company-wide direction to strengthen communities, and foster health equity that supports health literacy and increases underrepresented minorities and women in clinical research.