Patient Experience through the Lens of Racism: A Patient Experience Symposium Discussion with Sachin Jain, MD

Healthcare systems need to have a plan to provide better patient care and combat systemic racism. I am looking forward to discussing this with Sachin Jain, MD at the upcoming Patient Experience Symposium.

Moving from a company statement about racism and diversity to an action plan is a wide gap. Dr. Sachin Jain will share more about his vision, and it’s worth noting that his health plan organization is hiring for an expert in diversity and inclusion strategy. Investing in better patient care improves patient outcomes and experience long term. This means investing to reduce racism.

Earlier this year I asked Eileen Tobias about the connection between financial and resource planning and the fight to combat racism. I wanted to know what that looks like, from a financial and data perspective. Health Care leaders should know exactly how they are doing in terms of diversity. As the CFO of Komodo Health, Tobias realized that she should be part of planning for success: 

“ Everyone should have a good idea of where they are financially and where they want to go. That financial plan needs to be integrated throughout the company.”

Her words resonated with me then and have given me hope as I’ve been learning more about how health care companies and organizations have planned to improve systemic racism. Does your organization care about racism beyond the public statement that a PR professional created? Ask your financial team how you are doing. Does your concern have a line item on your budget or time during your board meetings? If it does not, you might not actually care. We need more financial planning and less lip service towards issues that are impacting patient care. Leadership includes measurement and passion for reducing racism, centered on what individual patients need.

Dr. Sachin Jain has shared his personal experiences with racism and patient care. His expertise and personal passion to facilitate individual connection at scale for older populations has led to program development at SCAN health plan. Understanding patients is the foundation of giving great care, including their language, culture, and background. 

Here are my questions for you as I prepare for the fireside chat:

  1. What does a plan to combat racism patient experiences look like?
  2. Have you been impacted by Racism in your health care experience?
  3. What do you want to know from Dr. Sachin Jain about his plan? What questions should we be asking?
  4. How do you measure your success in your goals for diversity and inclusion?
  5. What data organization strategies have work for your organization?
  6. What assumptions about patients have you seen in your work in healthcare?

Diversity of language and culture is something that makes America beautiful. It is also a challenge in our conversations and records. Recently, progress has been made to remove bias in kidney testing standards. Stat News reported about the importance of questioning data and science and if we are accepting standards that confirm our own bias:

“When science comes out with a statement that really aligns with what people believe — in this case, oh, of course Black people are different — no one questions it,” said Vanessa Grubbs, an associate professor of nephrology at University of California, San Francisco, and co-author of one petition.

Artificial intelligence algorithms are often inadequately trained on different skin tones, which can lead to difficulty in diagnosing black patients. We want to get racism out of our data sets and out of our algorithms, and we want to have a plan for giving culturally appropriate care. 

Culturally appropriate care is something that I care about. Outcomes for black mothers during childcare in America are worse than other mothers, and the race of your physician can impact the outcomes for mother and child. I am looking forward to hearing what SCAN health plan and Dr. Jain are doing to lead the way in racism and patient experience.

We will discuss this important topic on October 2, 2020 (Which is also his birthday) at the Patient Experience Symposium.  See you there.

This article is part of the #HealthIT100in100.

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About the author

Janae Sharp

Janae Sharp

Healthcare as a Human Right. Physician Suicide Loss Survivor.
Janae writes about Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Data Analytics, Engagement and Investing in Healthcare. Founder of the Sharp Index.
twitter: @coherencemed