Over the past year, we have had in-depth health-equity conversations with many health care and life sciences executives, and we have participated in quite a few conference panels on the subject. Based on our conversations, it’s clear that health equity continues to be seen as a business strategy. We have also heard that being a health equity leader can be a lonely job. It shouldn’t be.
More than 80% of C-suite executives from life sciences and health care organizations see improved health equity as a top-10 goal for 2024, and nearly 50% expect to increase health equity investments next year, according to surveys conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. (See the 2024 Outlook for Health Care and the 2024 Outlook for Life Sciences.)
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. 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. As a business imperative, health equity should be embedded in leadership teams and throughout every organization. Health equity leaders can be instrumental in coordinating those efforts. As care continues to shift from reactive to restorative and preventive, health equity could become even more important.