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Toolkit shows how developers can link health equity to innovation

Taking the first steps on a journey to assess and understand equity in healthcare innovation can be daunting, but a new resource is now available to help solution developers, buyers and investors get started. take this path and ensure that the products or services they build meaningfully advance health equity.

The Equitable Health Innovation Solution Development Toolkit aims to provide insight into how communities that have historically been marginalized by the American healthcare industry can be involved in the design, development, testing and evaluation of innovations in health to ensure positive health outcomes and avoid or mitigate harm.

Download the Solution Development Toolkit.

The effort is part of a WADA initiative, the In Full Health Community of learning and action to advance equitable health innovation, which provides a framework for shared understanding and a community for stakeholders committed to placing equity at the center of their innovation decision-making in health.

The toolkit was developed in collaboration between the AMA Center for Health Equity, the Greystone Group, the AMA’s External Equity and Innovation Advisory Group, and In Full Health Collaborating Organizations.

In addition to providing feedback on the Solution Development Toolkit, the advisory group also helped develop In Full Health and build a business case for investing in equitable health innovation.

The 14 founding collaborating organizations, which include the Business Group on Health and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, are committed to working with the AMA to support and advance the In Full Health principles for equitable innovation in health.


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Use of the toolkit is encouraged through several stages of the solution development cycle, including problem identification, initial solution ideation, and ongoing evaluation and iterations of the solution.

It also promises multiple iterations of the toolkit.

We view the toolkit as a living and dynamic document,” said Chris Gibbons, MD, MPH, member of the AMA External Equity & Innovation Advisory Group and founder and CEO of The Greystone Group, a digital health transformation company, in a published interview. on the En Pleine Santé website.

“Even though it has gone through several levels of development, revision and refinement, we believe it is always best to continue this process in the future,” added Dr Gibbons.

It appears that most solution developers have little expertise or significant experience involving people from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups in the development or design of digital health solutions. Yet many developers claim they are creating solutions for “everyone,” Dr. Gibbons said.

“It’s hard to imagine how these solutions could be the best solutions for individuals in (these) populations,” he added. “We wanted to make sure that was not the case with the development of this toolkit.”

The toolkit begins with ten actions that developers of health innovations can take to ensure an equitable impact of their products or services, including:

  • Understand the demographics of your total potential market, including inequalities in health conditions, treatment and outcomes between demographic groups and the structural and individual causes of these disparities.
  • Be explicit about the demographic groups represented among those you engage in the design of the solution and how you intend to address inequalities affecting these groups.
  • Conduct a review of clinical research or community health data used as the evidence base for your solution to understand and address any gaps in representation of priority groups. Close gaps and define a plan for monitoring gaps between groups to ensure the efficiency and safety of all user groups.
  • If applicable, ensure that priority demographic groups are represented in all augmented intelligence algorithm datasets used to create the solution.

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“All solution designers have resource constraints and will need to prioritize target audiences,” the toolkit says. “Once prioritization decisions are made explicit, we can understand representation gaps, decision-making power imbalances, and information asymmetry that could render solutions ineffective or harmful to demographic groups that are not engaged. “

The toolkit also urges developers to seek out ideas and recommendations from marginalized communities through representation and power sharing in formal participatory design opportunities such as patient advisory groups, patient design councils, research user and usability testing.

According to WADA policy, health equity is defined as “optimal health for all” and is a goal WADA will work towards through advocacy for access to health care, research and data collection; promote equity in care; increasing the diversity of the health workforce; influencing the determinants of health; and articulate and model commitment to health equity.

Learn about the AMA Center for Health Equity and the AMA’s strategic plan to mainstream racial justice and advance health equity.

Other key health equity resources include: