Challenges to Using a Business Case for Addressing Health Disparities

Challengesto Using a Business Case for Addressing Health Disparities

Challengesto Using a Business Case for Addressing Health Disparities

of the article

Thisarticle highlights various challenges that quantify both the socialand business case for addressing varying disparities, like race andethnicity, which face health care systems in the United State ofAmerica. It further describes several challenges that health plansface in their effort to address and reduce the aforementioneddisparities. Chances of investment returns going to other partiesrather than investor is one of the challenges that face the healthplans. Additionally, the article describes various principles thatcan help organizations address these disparities. In the end, thearticle highlights some of the limitations of the business case foraddressing various disparities that face most health careorganizations.

Healthdisparity mentioned in the article

Mosthealth care organizations face race and ethnicity disparity. Minoritypopulations (commercially insured and Medicaid individuals) arehighly affected by this disparity. They receive services and carethat are of low quality in most health care organizations.Challengesfaced by health

Lackof proper data on ethnicity and race in health system has been achief challenge to health plans in addressing various healthdisparities. This challenge makes it hard for health plans to detectany disparities arising in the quality of care given to patients(Lurie,Somers, Fremont, Angeles, Murphy, and Hamblin, 2008).It also makes it hard to implement plans and proper interventionsnecessary in addressing such disparities. As a result, it becomeshard to convince decision makers to intervene in the collection ofdata on race and ethnicity since they believe that their systems donot have significant disparities in the dissemination of health careservices. This is because lack of such data leaves such decisionmakers with no real way of either discovering or addressing suchdisparities.

Again,financial or otherwise returns may not be realized for many yearseven after the investment has been made. This particularly applies toreturns that are related to chronic diseases however,utilization-based savings on some chronic diseases like congestiveheart failure or asthma can be more rapid. In addition, there is ahigh likelihood of returns going to other parties (who did not takepart in the intervention process) other than the investors (Lurie etal., 2008). Narrowly held idea on what constitutes an intervention,frequent change of health plans by some patients, as well asaccruement of returns beyond the health care system are some of thereasons that may make other parties other the investors receive thereturns.Waysthrough which sound business and methodological principles and healthcare organizations can reduce health disparities

Qualityimprovement and business principles have a high likelihood of guidinghealth care organizations in reducing health disparities. Forexample, Pareto charts and the 80-20 rule can help such organizationstarget and focus on more resources in a more effective manner (Lurieet al., 2008). Geographical information system (GIS) tools can alsobe incorporated in health care organizations to improve targetingintervention opportunities. These tools play a significant role inhighlighting concentrated areas that have poor quality of healthcare.In fact, most of the NHPC plans use the aforementioned approaches inhighlighting salient characteristics of areas identified to offerpoor health care this facilitates the development and targetinginterventions. In addition, these disparities can be reduced ifhealth care organizations partner with other community stakeholders,like public health agencies and employers, for the broader socialgood as well as for their own return on investment. Moreover, anyhealth care organization can lower the intervention costs bypartnering with other health care organizations, which havesignificant market share in low-opportunity neighborhood.


Lurie,N Somers,S.A Fremont,A Angeles,J Murphy,E.K, and Hamblin,A. (2008).ChallengesTo Using a Business Case for Addressing Health Disparities.HealthAff (Millwood),27(2):334-8.