There’s a substantial difference between equality and equity, and events of the past few years have brought the fight for equity from the realm of progressive activism to public awareness, resulting in increasing calls to reduce systemic inequality across a broad range of areas, including healthcare. Businesses are taking notice and are increasingly focusing efforts on addressing inequities, including Big Four consultancy Deloitte.
Deloitte recently launched the Deloitte Health Equity Institute (DHEI) and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (DHCS), a new business arm focused on increasing health equity. DHEI’s goal is to bring together business, government, and community leaders to uncover and address inequalities in health outcomes, and DHCS, which currently publishes findings and analysis in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, will serve as the research arm for DHEI.
The firm also appointed Dr. Jay Bhatt, a practicing internist, geriatrician, and former Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the American Hospital Association, as the executive director of both DHEI and DHCS, tasked with leading the research and collaboration efforts. While Deloitte has been doing health equity work for some time, recent events presented an opportunity to accelerate its impact by launching DHEI.
“With an emphasis on sharing knowledge and evidence, incorporating lived experience, leveraging data and insights, and teaming with organizations to make an impact, together we are approaching health equity as an outcome—one with a meaningful business solution that we hope will make a significant contribution to the field,” said Dr. Asif Dhar, vice chair and U.S. life sciences and health care industry leader for Deloitte LLP.
Deloitte’s past health equity efforts include research on improving diversity in clinical trials, leveraging local data to target community-based services to areas of greatest need, and a health equity dashboard that uses public health data and analytics to provide critical insights into the status of health equity across the U.S.
Bhatt was inspired to choose a career in medicine and focus on underserved communities by having a first-hand view of the challenges people in disadvantaged communities face while growing up. He emphasized that improving health equity not only improves health outcomes, but also reduces a potential $135 billion in annual excess medical costs and lost productivity.