For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2021
Media Contact: Melissa Quick,

Patients and Health Care Industry Leaders Release Roadmap for Harnessing Data to Advance Health Outcomes for All

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, fourteen leading associations and non-profits representing patients and consumers, clinicians, hospitals, health plans, and technology companies released a white paper focused on how foundational health IT components – such as data access, data standardization, interoperability, and privacy and security – are needed to successfully advance health equity and modernize our public health system.

The white paper builds on the Health IT Leadership Roundtable, Vision for the Future of Health ITwhich was facilitated by Sirona Strategies health care consultancy in October 2021.The Roundtable sought to provide an opportunity for a diverse set of patients, policymakers, and organizations to discuss how the health care community can harness data and health IT infrastructure to improve health equity and modernize our public health system.

Key takeaways and recommendations include:

  • Enable the collection of standardized Race, Ethnicity, Language data across programs by supporting ongoing development and wide adoption of uniform industry standards, and developing industry standards and best practices to ensure the appropriate use of such data.
  • Partner with trusted entities, such as community-based organizations, to collaborate in screening and collection of information and as a core part of public health response efforts.
  • Leverage Race, Ethnicity and Language data and/or social needs data to inform where gaps exist to help target resources and ensure adequate assistance.
  • Appropriate and sustained funding to support a robust public health infrastructure, which includes interoperable systems and workforce capacity.

“Every American deserves accessible, affordable and equitable health care, and robust and actionable data is central to making that a reality for all communities,” said Sean Robbins, executive vice president of external affairs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “A comprehensive dataset will help eliminate the significant health disparities many people – especially people of color – experience by addressing the root causes, from lack of transportation to healthy food deserts. We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to advance policies that support the collection of standardized data to drive better care for everyone.”

The health IT landscape has dramatically changed in recent years and especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought renewed attention to broad and longstanding challenges and inequities in the U.S. health care and public health systems. The lack of transparency and insight into unfolding and ongoing disparities in COVID-19 and beyond, and the resulting impact on many individuals and communities, has driven action across our health care and public health systems, and throughout government, to improve the country’s health data and infrastructure systems to improve overall equity.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. The pandemic brought into sharper focus some of the disparities that have existed in our health care system and provided a new opportunity to focus on them in a different way that’s more solution oriented,” said Shawn Martin, executive vice president and chief executive officer at American Academy of Family Physicians. “To better connect and understand the communities we serve, it is important to think about data in a more granular way and to use it to improve connection and to align with resources in a meaningful way.”

The Health IT Leadership Roundtable event was hosted by: American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Health Information Management Association, American Heart Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Group Association, American Medical Informatics Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, Consumer Technology Association, Federation of American Hospitals, Medical Group Management Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Premier.

More information about the white paper and the event can be found here.