Health Equity for All

By Micky Tripathi and Thomas A. Mason, ONC
LinkedIn: Micky Tripathi
LinkedIn: Thomas Mason, MD
LinkedIn: ONC

This National Minority Health Month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is highlighting its commitment to health equity for all. Achieving health equity requires a systemic change in health care. We need to make sure that communities that have been historically underserved, under-resourced, marginalized, or adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality have equal access and experiences with their health care.

HHS’s Commitment to Health Equity

President Biden and HHS Secretary Becerra are committed to promoting health equity and combating health disparities. From lowering the cost of care, to increasing access to quality care, to continuing the record expansion of affordable health care coverage, HHS is committed to improving health outcomes, especially for vulnerable populations.

ONC’s Emphasis on Health Equity by Design

An important piece of the department’s health equity commitment is advancing data equity. At ONC, our work directly supports HHS’s health equity efforts with an approach that we call health equity by design, a focus on including health equity at the outset as a key feature during the design, build, and implementation of health IT policies, programs, and workflows. Health equity by design integrates equity considerations into health IT from the bottom up, so that the technology itself anticipates, not exacerbates, health disparities.

Check out ONC’s new Advancing Health Equity fact sheet to learn what actions ONC is taking to advance interoperability in health care in a way that prioritizes health equity by design through the ONC Health IT Certification Program, standards development, federal health IT coordination, and workforce development.

What’s more, we’ve released a white paper on Health Equity by Design for public feedback. We are eager for the health care community to review this paper and provide us your input so we can finalize a vision that helps ensure that health equity is “baked in” when new technology is designed, developed and deployed.

Building an Equitable Future

While health IT has had an undeniably positive impact on eliminating and mitigating inequity in health care, we still have a lot of work to do. ONC remains committed to a health equity by design approach, which goes beyond merely using health IT to reduce individual disparities. We seek to improve systemic data structures for identifying and quantifying unknown and hidden disparities as well.

ONC will continue to collaborate with federal agencies and private industry stakeholders to identify and address root causes of health care disparities in the U.S. Our work in improving data standards, ensuring health IT certification, and fostering data exchange is helping to eliminate disparities in the health system and leading to improved patient outcomes for all.

Visit for more information on current health equity gaps and opportunities, and how Health Equity by Design seeks to address them. And please take the time to read the white paper and provide your feedback by Monday, June 10 at 11:59:59pm ET.

This article was originally published on the Health IT Buzz and is syndicated here with permission.