“Health equity is a team sport”: Dr. Aditi Mallick on providing equitable care during COVID-19 & beyond
For many health systems, tackling health equity can be an overwhelming prospect, as can finding the best collection of digital solutions that most move the needle in their communities. In our work with over 50 health systems, AVIA has seen digital areas of focus that can quickly and effectively reduce inequities in care, as evidenced by the outcomes and stories from across our Member network.
In our report, The Health Equity Imperative: How Health Systems are Using Digital to Provide More Equitable Care, we highlight four of our Members and their work in health equity. Here’s a closer look at what two of our Members, OSF Healthcare and Boston Medical Center, have done.
OSF HealthCare, an integrated healthcare network in Illinois and Michigan, recognized that their community did not have adequate access to mental health services. They knew that traditional therapy could fill in some of the behavioral health gaps that existed in the community, but they wanted to provide more equitable access to mental health services.
To address this need, OSF HealthCare worked with AVIA to help them find a digital solution partner that could help them offer cost-effective online mental health services and resources to the areas they serve. AVIA connected them with an evidence-based behavioral health solution that offers on-demand mental health and wellbeing services with expert coaches and self-guided programs.
Since implementing the program in August 2017, the platform has had over 7,100 users sign up, with each user spending close to two hours on the platform. Community members that used the platform saw improvements in their PHQ-9 (for measuring major depressive disorder) and GAD-7 (for measuring general anxiety disorder) scores: 61% of people with severe depression reported a 3+ increase in their PHQ-9 score, and 49% of people with severe anxiety saw a 3+ increase in the GAD-7 score. A satisfaction survey found that 92% of respondents found the platform’s content helpful in some way.
Boston Medical Center (BMC), a 514-bed teaching hospital in Massachusetts, understood the need to improve their shuttle system to better provide care to their patients. Their existing system was underutilized, unreliable, and expensive, and they knew that it wasn’t an adequate solution to address the transportation barriers in their community. They recognized that complex campus logistics were causing additional anxiety to patients and that a lack of reliable transportation was increasing no-shows.
BMC’s goal was to address these challenges with efficient and reliable non-emergent transportation services. Their goal was to create a NEMT model that would address operational challenges across the health system, including reducing patient no-show rates, improving their internal throughput, and offering a reliable way to navigate the campus. BMC identified a NEMT partner that offered a straightforward patient and provider experience, streamlined billing, fast and reliable service, robust analytics, and the option to customize the program for different departments.
Since implementing their new NEMT solution, BMC has saved over $500k in the transition away from shuttles. They also saw a significant decrease in their no-show rate – from 25% to 8.5% – and can now pre-schedule transportation for their most vulnerable patients, improving health outcomes and patient experience.
Even with a renewed focus on health equity, healthcare still isn’t equitable, and it’s disproportionately hurting communities of color. Health systems must work harder to eliminate these inequities, and evidence-based care models and scalable digital solutions can get us there faster. Download our latest report, The Health Equity Imperative: How Health Systems are Using Digital to Provide More Equitable Care.