Consumer / Employer, Health Tech

Report: Improving Health Equity is a Top-10 Goal for Most Healthcare Execs in 2024

A recent Deloitte report found that improving health equity is a top-10 goal for 83% of life sciences and healthcare C-suite executives in 2024. The report also laid out factors that will likely influence health equity in 2024, including AI.

About 83% of life sciences and healthcare C-suite executives say that improving health equity is a top-10 goal in 2024, according to a recent report from Deloitte. In addition, 47% anticipate increasing health equity investments in 2024.

“While most industry leaders we have spoken to see value in ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality health care, realizing a return on the investment (ROI) requires an intentional strategy and time,” the report said. “In the short term, health equity investments could impact the nature of competition if it has a favorable effect on recruitment, retention, or operations. In the long-term, health equity can affect every aspect of business—from an organization’s workforce to its products and services. It can be the differentiator in value and growth.”

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The report surveyed 53 health equity leaders, as well as 121 life sciences and healthcare C-suite executives.

It found that 53% of health equity leaders expect regulatory pressures to be a key driver for health equity in 2024. More than 40 states have initiatives targeting racial and ethnic disparities in their Medicaid programs. The Food and Drug Administration has also said that it will make researchers provide a plan that makes sure trials have a diverse group of participants. 

Other health equity drivers include a focus on patient engagement (49% said this) and increased awareness about social priorities and social determinants (42%).

There are also several headwinds ahead. About 45% of respondents listed budget and resource allocation constraints as a health equity challenge, while 38% listed workforce staffing challenges and 32% said competing priorities of other health sector stakeholders.

“Setting goals — and being able to accurately measure progress toward meeting those goals — could help overcome these challenges,” Deloitte said.

In addition, Deloitte laid out five factors that will likely affect health equity initiatives in 2024:

1. Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare and life sciences execs must make sure that AI doesn’t “create unintended biases.” About 82% of health equity leaders said they have low or no involvement when it comes to their organization’s AI strategy. But Deloitte expects this to change if AI becomes a bigger part of healthcare delivery.

2. Community engagement and clinical trials: 60% of respondents said increasing community engagement and collaboration is a key priority for 2024. These kinds of relationships “can be important for building and sustaining trust. Some organizations view community engagement as a cost, but it should be seen as an asset,” Deloitte said. For example, biopharmaceutical companies could improve diversity in their clinical trials by partnering with community health centers.

3. Workforce: Organizations should expand “their recruitment efforts to include the communities they serve,” Deloitte said. This would help build trust with their communities. In addition, focusing on employee health and well-being would improve retention and lower burnout.

4. Ecosystem collaborations: Some health equity leaders are leaning on collaborations with key players to improve health equity “across the broader ecosystem,” according to Deloitte.

“We continue to see potential in bringing public and private sector organizations together for place-based change to advance health equity,” Deloitte said. “Ecosystem collaborations could be an opportunity to drive value and growth through new and innovative engagements.”

5. Research capabilities: About 55% of health equity leaders said that their research strategy is a top priority in 2024. The need for reliable data and accurate measurements will likely grow. Health equity leaders said outdated data infrastructures, data standardization/interoperability issues, and limited collaboration/data sharing are major research challenges.

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