In today’s world, there is a growing concern about disparities in healthcare access, quality of care and health outcomes. Healthcare equity has become a crucial part of the conversation, as it seeks to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to attain the best possible health outcomes.
By creating an equitable and just system, healthcare organizations can ensure that all patients receive the best possible care. From improved patient outcomes to cost savings, equity in healthcare can make a big difference.
What is health equity?
Health equity means ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to be healthy and achieve the best possible health outcomes. Health equity ensures access to care regardless of gender, race, religion, disability status or other characteristics.
As healthcare systems become more complex and costly, it is essential to ensure that all individuals have fair and equitable access to healthcare services. Nursing professionals can provide not only medical assistance, but also advice and help with psychological and social issues.
The nursing job outlook appears increasingly positive due to the increasing demand for nurses promoting healthcare equity. By enrolling in an ABSN program at Baylor University, students can learn about the importance of health equity.
Through classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experiences, students develop the skills necessary to understand how factors such as gender, income level, ethnicity and language may contribute to healthcare disparities.
Why equity matters in medicine
Equity in healthcare can significantly impact the overall health and wellbeing of the population. For instance, providing equitable access to healthcare can reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, ensure fair treatment, and allow all people to lead healthier lives.
Here are six reasons why equity matters in medicine.
Reduced health disparities
Health disparities are differences in health outcomes between certain population groups that are not due to medical care or personal choices. These disparities can be seen in both healthcare quality and access to care.
Health equity aims to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to lead a healthy and prosperous life. To achieve this, health disparities must be addressed and reduced.
When health disparities are addressed and reduced, everyone has an equal chance of good health regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or other factors. This means that everyone has the same access to quality healthcare, which can have many positive impacts.
Improved organizational performance
In any organization, performance is vital to success. Having a more equitable approach to healthcare can lead to improved performance.
Healthcare organizations with a greater focus on equity can expect to benefit from an overall improvement in organizational performance due to some factors. For instance, a more diverse workforce enables healthcare providers to meet their diverse patient population’s needs better.
Additionally, incorporating equity can create a more collaborative and cohesive environment between staff and management, enabling smoother operations. This action positively impacts the quality of care delivered.
All these factors ultimately lead to improved organizational performance and help ensure that healthcare systems can provide high-quality care to their communities.
Increased workforce diversity
The lack of diversity in healthcare can directly impact how patients perceive and experience care. By creating a more diverse and equitable workforce, healthcare organizations can better reflect the population they serve and ensure that everyone feels included and respected.
When organizations intentionally hire a diverse workforce, it can help improve patient satisfaction, reduce health disparities, and increase overall trust in the system. This move benefits patient care and can help healthcare organizations in their recruitment and retention efforts.
Organizations can build more inclusive cultures, attract qualified candidates from all backgrounds, and benefit from a wider range of perspectives. They must consider their hiring practices and prioritize equity to improve workforce diversity.
Reduced malpractice claims
Malpractice claims can be financially draining for healthcare providers and health systems. Patients who believe that they were not treated fairly or provided quality care may file a malpractice claim against the provider or institution.
As the access to quality care and other resources become more equitable, medical providers are better equipped to provide a higher standard of care. This, in turn, reduces the potential for medical negligence and malpractice claims that can otherwise arise from disparities in care.
For example, when patients have access to preventive care, they are less likely to suffer from serious illnesses that could lead to medical malpractice claims. Providers that understand and consider each patient’s unique needs will have an improved patient-provider relationship.
Enhanced patient satisfaction
When healthcare organizations are set up, implemented and managed with a focus on equity, it can improve patient satisfaction. This is because patients from all backgrounds feel respected and appreciated.
Additionally, an equitable health system has processes and practices that put patients at ease and provide them with quality care.
For instance, a health system might have a streamlined process for registering patients from various backgrounds. This helps ensure that all patients get the same level of service regardless of their financial status.
It eliminates any feelings of discrimination and ensures that patients feel comfortable and valued. As such, when an organization emphasizes equity in healthcare delivery, it increases overall patient satisfaction.
Improved population health
Health equity ensures that all population members receive quality healthcare and enjoy improved health outcomes. Through providing equitable access to healthcare, health disparities can be reduced, and healthcare organizations can improve the entire population’s health.
It ensures that all population members receive quality healthcare regardless of economic or social status.
In addition, health equity enables better population-level disease management and prevention.
This can help reduce the spread of contagious diseases and provide better care for those at a higher risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Ultimately, achieving equity in healthcare aims to ensure that all individuals can access the same quality of care. Organizations can accomplish this by eliminating disparities in access, cost and quality of care and by promoting health equity.
Healthcare providers and organizations should strive to create an environment where all individuals are treated fairly and have access to the same resources. By increasing health equity and reducing disparities in healthcare access and quality, we can ensure that everyone has a better chance of living a healthy life.