Business Owners & Executives
Many people hear the word “health equity” and they think of a person’s ability to manage their health, meaning access to doctors and the medical resources they need.
However, this term extends beyond just having access to healthcare.
As of 2020, 28 million Americans had no health insurance, resulting in exorbitant out-of-pocket costs. But where does this disparity come from? Low equity in healthcare occurs for a range of reasons. Understanding the health equity definition and the factors that contribute to low levels of equity are vital for creating impactful health equity policies.
So what is health equity and what can you do about it?
Health equity is both a moral and business imperative
Healthcare for your staff is investing in your companies future
Up to 70% of individual health outcomes are due to the non-medical drivers of health – also known as social determinants of health. Examples include ability to have a good paying job, healthy food and affordable housing.
What is health Equity?
How it Impacts Businesses?
What are the Benefits of Focusing on it?
Did you know in Jefferson County
26% of the children are living in poverty?
2 African American's are unemployed for every white person unemployed?
There are 60,181 single family households
The infant mortality rate is 33% Greater than the nation rate.
5 Steps to Improve Health Equity In the Workplace
Over the next 90 Days!
Join us in committing to 90 Days where you focus on wellness of your company, through the lens of Health Equity. Let’s run through the five steps to improve health equity in the workplace. As an employer you have the power to lead the charge in building a great corporate culture.
Knowing how to achieve health equity is crucial for improving every aspect of society, from supporting local communities to the wider economy. Luckily, taking steps toward health equity doesn’t lie in the hands of governments alone. Employers can take strides towards achieving health equity, which benefits society, the economy, and organizations. In fact, companies with health equity initiatives in place often enjoy higher productivity, increased job satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs.
The first step is to identify the way in which disparities impact specific groups. It’s not enough to simply designate a community as either underserved or underprivileged. Inequity goes far deeper than the surface. Disparities within communities are just as important as disparities between communities. It’s important to take a hard look at the dynamics of an organization, even if it's ugly. Remember what we said earlier? You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. So ask yourself tough questions: What barriers might your employees be facing and who is disproportionately impacted? This can range from food or housing insecurity to transportation issues to caregiving challenges. What can you do to improve access to the resources they need, both at home and at work?
2. Recognizing Biases
Ready for another tough question? Here’s a big one: What subconscious bias might your employees be facing in the workplace? Whether we know it or not, everyone suffers from some form of bias. Our subconscious introduces bias in ways we may never know, but it’s important that we try. This is especially important in a professional setting, as employers are often the bridge between individuals and access to healthcare.
Perform a deep dive into your company’s culture, policies, and relationships with a critical eye. Learning how to recognize conscious and subconscious bias can help avoid unintentional exclusion and lead to more inclusive policies.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s so important that we have to include it. It also goes hand-in-hand with recognizing biases, as one directly influences the other. It’s important to cultivate a culture of respect within an organization and to be on the lookout for those who don’t fit in with that culture. This isn’t limited to employees — all stakeholders must respect the differences between the groups within your company.
A collaborative approach is the only way to enact real, lasting change. This means initiating dedicated programs for addressing current disparities and involving the beneficiaries of such programs.
Nothing provides more information than good old-fashioned evaluation. This is especially important after you’ve implemented policies to improve health equity within your organization. Set up a constant system of monitoring to assess and evaluate the progress of health equity policies. You need to know whether new systems have the desired effect, and make changes if they don’t. Changes must be proposed as part of the evaluation process to maximize the effectiveness of health equity campaigns.
Businesses shouldn’t be alone in helping communities achieve health equity, and they can lean on others for help. This includes employees, but friends and family as well. Encourage people to volunteer their gifts, time, and talents to improve the state of health equity within communities. A common corporate example is employers offering to pay for relevant courses or certifications. This gives employees the resources they need to gain additional training in their field and build upon their professional skills. A community-based example could be a healthcare professional working at a free clinic to provide the underserved with the treatment they need.
Health Equity Improves Everyone's Lives
There’s no way to list every way for companies to promote health equity because it comes down to helping every employee in the way that’s best for them. That should have happened a long time ago, so the national focus on health equity is long overdue. As more companies take up this cause, they’ll find it works to their advantage because it improves the lives of employees and society as a whole.