How Technology Can Help to Address Core DEI Challenges in Healthcare
Apr 20, 2023
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become an increasingly important business priority across industries, and for good reason. According to McKinsey, diverse and inclusive corporations are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. But it's an especially critical topic in the healthcare industry. Here, a focus on addressing DEI challenges in healthcare is not just optional or "the right thing." Instead, it has a tangible impact on patient care and satisfaction.
Of course, tackling DEI challenges in healthcare is not the role of any individual department. The entire organization, from care providers to heads of HR, has to work together to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace and patient environment. Technology can also play a core role in the process.
Join us for a brief explanation of why DEI in healthcare matters. Then we'll discuss the role technology can play in addressing (and solving) core DEI challenges in healthcare.
Why Does DEI Matter in Healthcare?
While DEI matters in every industry, it is especially relevant in patient-facing healthcare environments. That's not just a general statement—its benefits can be significant.
Embracing DEI in patient education, for example, improves patient trust and engagement. Patients become more likely to see themselves in the materials designed for them, which causes them to pay more attention.
This is an especially relevant development considering the increasing health literacy gap in the United States. Patients who participate in educational healthcare programs designed with DEI in mind achieve outcomes like:
- Completing education programs at higher levels
- Becoming more likely to attend follow-up appointments
- Becoming less likely to need readmission for chronic issues
But that's not all. As a recent Harvard Public Health study found, a lack of DEI programs can lead to higher costs for healthcare providers. Even unintentionally excluding diverse populations, increasing barriers to healthcare, or providing less-than-ideal care to underrepresented groups will ultimately cause those groups to need higher-level care at higher rates.
It's a simple argument: without an intentional focus on DEI, ground-level education and patient care cannot extend to populations who might need it most. Because of that, those exact populations will become more likely to need more costly, higher-level care. This increases costs for all stakeholders.
At best, healthcare costs increase significantly for the provider and patient alike. At worst, the patient cannot afford care at this level, with potentially devastating consequences.
That's why addressing DEI challenges in healthcare, in addition to being the right thing to do, becomes a smart business decision. At its best, it's an ROI-positive move that can reduce your costs and significantly improve patient outcomes in the process. Within that framework, it becomes a win-win for everyone involved.
The Role of Technology in Addressing DEI Challenges in Healthcare
DEI, in healthcare as in other fields, has to be an organizational initiative. Any one unit or division trying to charge ahead on its own likely won't get far.
That said, each of your organizational units will have to play a role in the process. Technology alone cannot solve your DEI challenges. But it can certainly play a role in addressing them effectively to the benefit of everyone involved.
Technology plays a natural role in medical research DEI efforts. For example, access to digital devices and high-speed internet increases opportunities to participate in clinical studies. But, as multiple of the below areas show, that's far from the only potential application.
Leveraging Technology to Improve DEI Recruiting
Improving patient equity has to start with your own workforce. And yet, in this industry, all minority populations combined are less than 40 of the typical workforce. That number decreases the further up the organizational chart you go.
DEI technology can help HR departments begin to reverse that trend. Automated recruitment, especially early in the talent pipeline, can reduce the biases that tend to exclude diverse candidates from the search. They also enable blind assessments and more objective interviews that can lead to a more diverse and equitable workforce.
Tracking the Results of DEI Initiatives
Even the best initiatives matter little if you don't know how successful they are. Tracking your DEI efforts diligently allows you to determine whether they are resulting in actual organizational change and affecting the way your organization impacts patients' lives.
Tools like Workday Talent Management can help to build that accurate tracking ecosystem. They track both the progress and impact of DEI training, emphasize skill sets that may benefit a more diverse workforce and more. As a result, you can foster growth within your team to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for your patients.
Visualizing the Impact of a DEI Strategy on the Entire Organization
Tracking results, in turn, cannot require a data science Ph.D. just to interpret them. Organizational leadership, from doctors to the C-suite, needs to be able to quickly grasp the impact of the larger DEI strategy and how it affects their daily work. The ability to build visual data reports can go a long way toward achieving that goal by helping your leadership see the difference DEI initiatives have made.
Improving Employee Engagement to Take Actionable Steps
Finally, technology can play a significant role in tackling one of the most common DEI challenges in healthcare: the ability to engage your employees. Without full buy-in, you risk missing out on ideas from every level of the organization. You may also struggle to implement any DEI initiatives.
Tools like Workday Peakon Employee Voice are specifically designed to address this challenge. They provide easy feedback opportunities for all members of the organization, alongside a direct ability to take action. Meanwhile, you'll be able to track your employee experience, celebrate wins and find improvement opportunities to build a more diverse and engaged workforce.
How Collaborative Solutions Can Help Your Organization Tackle DEI Challenges in Healthcare
Make no mistake: DEI has become one of the most crucial topics modern healthcare organizations have to address. Failure to embrace it risks not just decreasing positive patient outcomes but also alienating entire groups of people in need of care.
Fortunately, a wide range of solutions can help you avoid that worst-case scenario. To start, contact us and learn how Collaborative Solutions helps healthcare organizations embrace, track, and build on their DEI efforts throughout the entire organizational infrastructure.
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