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MEDITECH Partnership Focuses on Health Equity Data Collaboration

MEDITECH’s data collaboration with the Institute for Health Metrics aims to grow health equity data and provide hospitals nationwide with clinical and SDOH data and grant funding opportunities.

MEDITECH has acknowledged the Institute for Health Metrics (IHM) as its data collaboration partner to bolster and expedite health equity data initiatives throughout hospitals across the nation.

The Joint Commission and other regulatory bodies are mandating health equity evaluation and improvement as part of its quality measurement programs. But this leaves some community hospitals, already strained by COVID-19 responses, in need of help addressing health equity challenges.

The collaboration aims to enhance data-sharing capabilities as a data partner; IHM will offer data services to community hospitals. Through this partnership, hospital members will gain access to refined clinical data and data enhancement, including social determinants of health (SDOH) data. Additionally, the hospitals will receive curated information and health equity grant funding opportunities.

For over ten years, IHM has leveraged real-world data (RWD) for healthcare research. It developed a SaaS Meaningful Use reporting system and insightsDB, a specialized, HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based data platform.

IHM's data holds clinical details, unstructured notes, and SDOH data to analyze health outcomes. The data represents community hospitals throughout the United States. Community hospitals typically serve a population that is frequently underrepresented in medical literature and clinical trials.

"MEDITECH customers work with IHM as a data ally because of their focus on health equity, proven track record with MEDITECH hospitals, and their ability to deliver new value to our customers," Helen Waters, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MEDITECH, said in a press release “IHM provides a learning laboratory where our customers can test hypotheses and confidently measure results with data.”

This partnership comes as the healthcare industry concentrates its efforts on addressing health equity challenges through data collection. Health experts have argued that accurate data collection is necessary to understand health inequities, measure change, and evaluate system effects on individuals and populations. Critical categories for data collection include race, ethnicity, sex, language, disability status, and SDOH.

Experts have also stated that the industry must create standards to facilitate data sharing between EHRs, community-based organizations, and state health information exchanges (HIEs). Smaller providers and community-based organizations need vendor-agnostic interoperability, while some experts have highlighted the difficulties faced by organizations without access to interoperable technology.

An ONC initiative from August 2022 aimed to expand health equity data by standardizing patient addresses, enabling providers to assess the social, economic, political, and physical factors influencing patient health. This approach allows for a more accurate evaluation of the environments impacting patient health, ONC officials stated. Address standardization also enhances patient matching and medical record linking within and across health systems.

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