Making Health Equity Possible
Health equity is more important than ever before. That means access to well-care and to effective treatments for chronic illness based on data and science that reflect diverse patient populations—no matter where they happen to live.
Meharry Medical College is one of the nation’s oldest and largest historically black academic health science centers dedicated to educating physicians, dentists, researchers, and health policy experts. Meharry welcomes students from diverse populations who understand that social and environmental differences between populations are critically important to their health and healthcare. Delivering healthcare equity through real-time data science with tangible outcomes is paramount.
“I think for a long time in this country we’ve known that there’s a great disparity between minority populations and the majority population in terms of disease burden,” says James E.K. Hildreth, MD, Ph.D., and President and CEO at Meharry. He adds that Meharry is well-positioned to examine this disparity and to do something about it.
Smaller organizations typically can’t afford the technology that enables the depth and breadth of data science needed to drive significant transformation. So Meharry partnered with Clearsense and Cloudera to implement a cloud-based, 100% open-source, secure data platform giving physicians and researchers a more vivid clinical and social patient picture. Instead of using standard markers or ranges for test results—which often are based on white males—the technology enables researchers to break down results by race, social determinants of health, and other factors. The resulting therapies are more specific and effective, eliminate treatment bias, and what Charles Boicey, Clearsense co-founder and CIO, calls digital disparity.
The cloud-based architecture also enables rapid deployment, and with a fraction of the time and cost it takes to engage traditional, on-premises solutions. For Meharry, this means researchers now move more quickly, reducing their study time by three to five years.
Boicey says if we think hard enough and apply them properly, “We can take these technologies to underserved environments in healthcare, enabling clinicians to more quickly take their hypotheses from the bench to the bedside.”
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