Health Equity and Health Disparities:
The Role of Health IT and the Need to Standardize Data Collection
What is health equity and why does it matter?
This question is being asked more and more; yet the meaning of “health equity” remains unknown or unclear to many, despite its growing importance and consequently—the many barriers that stand in the way of healthy living and access to care across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” When looked at another way, any social, cultural, economic, or environmental factors that impact an individual’s health or restrict access to healthcare are considered health inequities. Examples of such barriers include: racial, ethnic, gender, and age discrimination; disability; income disparities, lack of access to adequate housing, clean water, healthy food, and quality education; as well as environmental conditions.
The role of health IT in improving health equity
The health information technology field has progressively recognized that addressing health disparities to achieve health equity needs to be a cross-sector effort. While there is much work to be done, the health IT community continues to demonstrate the importance of data in uncovering and informing work to address healthcare disparities.
Audacious Inquiry’s new eBook, “Health Equity and Health Disparities: The Role of Health It and the Need to Standardize Data Collection,” identifies key areas where health IT organizations and healthcare professionals can make a measurable impact in improving health equity. Specific themes include:
- The difference between health equity and social determinants of health
- Specific examples of health disparities
- The impact of COVID-19 on health equity
- Advancing health equity through health data and interoperability standards