Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc, vice dean for diversity and inclusion, chief of cardiology in the Department of Medicine, and a professor of medicine in cardiology and medical social sciences at Northwestern Medicine, discusses health equity issues and how greater inclusion should be a business model because of changing demographics. He spoke to Cardiovascular Business at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2022 meeting.
The AHA meeting had a large number of sessions on diversity and inclusion, and these topics have seen increasing numbers of sessions at other cardiology meetings as well. This includes the information about diversity in the workplace, in clinical trials, impacts of drugs used in different patient populations, the devices placed, the way physicians are trained, the composition of the healthcare workforce and addressing health inequities.
“These issues are now on the main stage,” Yancy explained. “Not because it is the socially correct thing to do, but because it really is the future of medicine in a world that is much more diverse. If a healthcare system is going to be viable moving forward, you are going to need to embrace your entire market place.”
He said it is easy to locate hospitals and clinics in economically prosperous, higher-income areas. But as profit margins become much smaller, Yancy said health systems need to to be more inclusive.
“So these discussions are not just about your patients from the lens of the provider who wants to deliver the best care for patients. These conversations are about your business model from the lens of your administrators. If you want to thrive, you need to have the best outcomes in all patients,” he explained.
He said from the administrative point-of-view, it only takes a small number of patients with poor outcomes to have a negative impact on the bottom line.
“You don’t have room for that, the margins are too narrow. Every possible patient needs to have the best possible outcome,” Yancy said. “So, we have to incorporate health equity if we are going to have viable business practices moving forward.”
Yancy also discussed the need for clinical trials to be more inclusive. He explained minorities are more likely to take drugs or get new types of procedures if people like them were included in the studies.
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