Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, explains why health systems shouldn't be afraid to analyze health care disparities within their own institutions.
Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, CEO of SCAN Group and Health Plan, explains why health systems shouldn't be afraid to analyze health care disparities within their own institutions.
Datapalooza will delve into health equity issues and the use of data to respond to them. What kinds of data should investigators be using to evaluate how health systems and payers are doing in tackling health care disparities?
Jain: Well, I think a lot of health care organizations actually have historically been afraid to track racial and other types of demographic data that help identify patients. I think the reason for that is because we're afraid of inadvertently creating disparities by actually tracking that kind of data. This is where we need a cultural shift, where organizationally, we need to track these things and, frankly, we need to put our bad news out there. One of the things I'm most proud of at SCAN is that our team proactively identified a disparity in our medication adherence rates between Caucasian patients and African American and Latino patients. One of the things that we're now doing is we're actually putting our money where our mouth is. We're actually tying our personal incentive payments to whether we actually closed those disparities this year. We've also identified trust gaps with our own employees. We've realized that while we have high trust scores—90% against the Gallup 7 employee trust survey—we've also realized that our scores with African American employees are actually a full point lower than our scores with other types of employees. So, I think that, again, we have to do what we can to actually talk about our bad news. In order to talk about our bad news, we need to track a whole wide array of measures about our organizational performance, both with our employees, as well as with the patients and members that we serve. Again, I think people have been afraid to have these conversations and even afraid to track these types of data. I think the time is to stop being afraid and actually start doing something about it. That's what I'm proud of with my work at SCAN and I'm excited about many of the initiatives that I'm seeing in the industry that do similar things.