Health Tech, Payers, Providers

EY: 65% of Healthcare Organizations Have Seen a Positive Return on Health Equity Efforts

A new report from Ernst & Young revealed that healthcare organizations are seeing financial benefits and improved outcomes from their health equity strategies.

A new report from Ernst & Young (EY) revealed that 65% of healthcare organizations have had a positive return on health equity efforts, and 83% have seen improved health outcomes.

“That all suggests that we are moving from the stage of seeing a problem and wanting to fix it to starting to have a measurable impact with patients and in many cases getting a positive ROI in return,” said Susan Garfield, EY Americas chief public health officer and global client service partner, in an email.

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For the report, EY polled 500 health equity leaders from providers, payers, life sciences organizations, government organizations and community organizations.

EY also found that 98% of respondents believe that prioritization of health equity will stay the same or increase over the next year and 92% anticipate that financial investment will rise throughout 2024. However, organizations have different health equity priorities. About 34% cited health equity strategy development as a top priority, while 44% cited healthcare access and quality and 31% cited health outcomes disparity closure.

Organizations reported that they are improving health equity using data-driven approaches and new technologies, although most acknowledge being in their initial phases. The number of those emphasizing data, AI and technology as crucial has surged by 50%, while 88% of participants are embracing fundamental health equity enhancements through data analytics.

When asked about challenges they’re facing when it comes to health equity, 41% listed competing priorities, while 36% cited a lack of financial commitment. Another 28% said the “lack of an articulated business case.”

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“While we consistently observe leaders who are deeply committed to advancing health equity, competing priorities focused on the financial sustainability of the organization are a reality that many organizations are facing today. It is not only the top challenge identified in the report (41% of organizations) — it is also what we hear from our clients loud and clear,” said Kelly Hawk, EY principal of health transformation consulting, in an email.

In addition, most healthcare organizations believe that partnership is important in order to achieve health equity goals: 81% of government organizations are partnering with other government organizations, 73% of providers are collaborating with other providers, 61% of nonprofits are working with other nonprofits, 57% of payers are partnering with other payers and 56% of life sciences organizations are working with other life sciences organizations.

Overall, Garfield said that the findings “reinforce that there are organizations all along the health equity maturity continuum, from those setting up teams and developing strategy to those with evolving data and analytics programs measuring impact and informing investments. According to the findings, the larger the organization, the more likely they are to be further along on their health equity journey and have invested more in health equity infrastructure.”

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