The Fight Against Health Inequality: How to Strengthen Health Equity

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The World Health Organization defines health inequality as the systematic differentiation in the healthcare services for people belonging to different populations. It happens to be one of the significant issues plaguing the healthcare industry around the globe. It surfaces due to the economic, social, and health conditions of different communities. Nonetheless, the healthcare industry is continuously working to overcome this discrimination and make healthcare equity possible.

Healthcare equity is when every person belonging to any community has equal opportunities to attain healthcare services. No economic or social status can put them at a disadvantage. Consequently, to make health equity possible, the healthcare industry is establishing a system-wide strategy to invest its resources properly. The aim is to strategize according to infrastructure, programs, and resources. Therefore, some approaches that help in the struggle against health inequality are

Develop a diverse workforce

Health equity includes equal access to healthcare, empowerment, and patient education for every community regardless of social or economic status. However, several barriers serve as hindrances in achieving this goal. It includes language barriers, social barriers, and empowerment issues. But the healthcare industry can overcome these issues by diversifying its workforce. 

An inclusive and diversified workplace environment will ultimately help eliminate healthcare inequality. Therefore, healthcare organizations must onboard healthcare professionals from various backgrounds and ethnicities. Today, many nurse aspirants belonging to different communities are pursuing online healthcare education to set foot into this gratifying industry. The majority of them are enrolling in an online nursing masters degree, given its heightened demand and popularity in the nursing field. So, hiring such competent professionals will help your facility establish a proficient and diversified workforce. 

Diversifying the healthcare industry actively eradicates some significant issues in healthcare inequality. Therefore, some of the benefits of diversification are:

  • Respect and understanding for other communities and cultures
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Progress toward creating a global workforce
  • Abolition of language barriers
  • Better patient satisfaction

Provide training and growth opportunities for employees

Training healthcare employees to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services can help tackle the issues of health inequality. Apart from that, providing your employees resources and pathways that they can use to grow their careers can help deal with healthcare inequality issues. 

This initiative will urge more people to join the healthcare industry. A larger workforce will provide the resources needed to tackle health inequality issues.

Pay employees living wages 

The healthcare industry happens to be a significant economic power in every country. In many countries, healthcare facilities are the biggest employers of people belonging to various communities. Therefore, if healthcare facilities start paying the employees living wages, they can significantly impact the economy. 

The reason is that women and people from minorities occupy most of the lower-level healthcare service jobs. If these groups get less pay, it contributes to income inequality in the healthcare industry.

Build facilities in underserved communities

When the healthcare leaders started treating the industry as a mere business opportunity, it gave rise to health inequality. The business aspect of the industry caused many healthcare facilities to move out of small towns and poor neighborhoods. The aim was to capture a bigger market so that they could increase business. As a result, affluent areas have more healthcare facilities as compared to other neighborhoods. 

However, if healthcare facilities start providing services in deprived and underserved areas, they can leave a positive impact. As a result, the underserved communities will have access to healthcare services, which will help promote health equity.

Use a diverse pool of contractors and suppliers 

Another prominent barrier to health equity is the economic condition of underserved communities. One of the solutions to this problem is for the healthcare industry to diversify its pool of suppliers and contractors. Suppose the industry gives small, minority, or women-owned businesses a chance. In that case, they can have a positive impact on the economic health of underserved communities. 

The opportunity to contract and subcontract with small communities allows you to grow the industry by increasing supplier outreach.

Invest back into the community 

The healthcare industry shoulders the responsibility to give back to the community they benefit from, eventually. Therefore, the industry must provide support by increasing the community facilities and public spaces in the underserved areas. These spaces can include gymnasiums, parts, trails, etc. Not only will they promote personal health, but also improve the social and economic conditions of the area.

Apart from that, the healthcare industry can take the initiative to invest in students and education programs that will prepare them for healthcare services. It will persuade more people to seek a career in the healthcare industry and promote higher education.

Conclusion

Success in the movement for health equity demands immense effort on the part of healthcare organizations. They will have to come up with innovative methods to improve service quality, effectiveness, and efficiency. 

For this purpose, the country’s government and the healthcare industry will have to invest in healthcare infrastructure. They will also have to take initiatives to dismantle gender and race-based issues within the organizations to promote diversity in the industry. 

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