Last week, we unveiled our new inclusion initiative, the HIMSS Global Health Equity Network. Through virtual and in-person education, events and networking, the network is aimed at accelerating diversity and inclusion to improve healthcare access and delivery, creating an inclusive workforce, decreasing disparities in underrepresented groups, and advocating for true health equity for all. The newly created network is part of our global initiative to expand our inclusion efforts to ensure everyone, everywhere, has access to a health and wellness ecosystem that works.
In the following Q&A, HIMSS’s Chief Americas Officer Denise Hines explains the importance of the network and how it aligns with HIMSS’s renewed purpose of realizing the full health and wellness potential of every person on the planet.
At HIMSS, we define health equity as the equal access to health and wellness services regardless of the patient’s geographic location, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or other demographic factors. We know that there are a number of social determinants of health that impact people’s ability to get the care they need, such as their employment status, access to healthy food and transportation, and strength of their social support network. Health equity considers these factors and reduces disparities in access and quality of care, so that no matter who you are or where you live, you can get the services you need to be healthy and well.
Representation matters. If we are going to equalize access to healthcare for all patients, we need a diverse workforce that understands the needs of patients from a variety of communities, particularly those that are currently underserved or underrepresented. A diverse healthcare workforce that reflects the full population has been shown to increase access to care for underserved groups, improve patient engagement and satisfaction, and boost care outcomes. It’s very important that patients feel comfortable in the care environment, and they’re much more likely to feel comfortable if they’re being seen by someone who has a clear understanding of their unique circumstances and specific needs.
It is our hope that the network will compel healthcare leaders to be intentional about improving health equity. As an industry, we should be focusing on enhancing our understanding of underrepresented groups, building a diverse workforce, and improving and designing systems and solutions to support patients from every background. With the Global Health Equity Network, we are actively seeking members and focusing on membership activities that involve underserved communities. We have a number of events and collaboration opportunities planned for 2020 and beyond that will allow members to exchange knowledge and best practices, find innovative solutions, and collaborate on resources with other HIMSS members.
We’re excited about this new offering and see it as a natural extension of our new vision, which is to realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere. This is an immense, bold task. We can’t do it alone, which is why we’re inviting our 80,000+ members and healthcare leaders around the world to join us in this effort, so that we can create a better future and drive what’s next for health—together.
Join the HIMSS Global Health Equity Network to advance the cause of health and wellness for everyone, everywhere. Collaborate with members of our diverse communities to share insights, best practices and resources through virtual and in-person education, events and networking. Advocate for underserved groups in health information and technology around the globe, and collaborate to find real-world solutions to challenges and roadblocks. Dialogue with an inclusive group of leaders in healthcare, health information and technology, and government to improve access to care and outcomes for people across the globe.