Ask a healthcare organization what its top priority is today, and many will say health equity. But when it comes to creating real change, paying lip service won’t cut it, one executive said.
“It’s virtue signaling,” said SCAN Health Plan CEO Sachin Jain in a recent interview. “It’s fashionable to say you care about this. After George Floyd’s murder, how many healthcare organizations said ‘We stand with Black Lives Matter?’ They said they were going to make major changes to their strategy. They said they were going to make major donations.”
While it’s important to show support in reducing health disparities, healthcare organizations need to establish clear and specific goals in order to actually move the needle, Jain added.
“It’s humbling to see how many people now care about this issue,” he said. “But I also think that we have a culture in healthcare where we have told ourselves that change is harder than it actually is, that it needs to be slow, that it needs to be incremental, that change needs to be preceded with intensive dialogue and consensus making. I think that’s where we have a leadership gap. That’s where we have really over-complicated some of these issues.
“I think more and more organizations need to just say, ‘We’re going to reduce the number of African American children who are born with low birth weights. We’re going to lower readmission rates for populations where it’s higher.’”