Bridge the Data Gap: NCQA’s Research Experience Supports Employers’ Health Equity Effort

September 20, 2021 · NCQA Communications

Employers frequently tell us the biggest roadblock to their health equity effort is identifying health disparities among their employee population. Knowing that disparities exist is one thing, but without data to pin down specific gaps, employers have to rely on broad-brush interventions that may have less impact. And their ability to measure what actually works, and double down on these tactics, is also limited.

Health Equity Action: NCQA as a Resource

NCQA understands this challenge and has developed the capability to use available data to find and target unequal care. In thehealth equity, employer, employee Medicare and Medicaid programs, for example, we’ve identified disparities in mental health and chronic kidney disease. We’ve studied disparate outcomes in diabetes care, in post-discharge follow-up and readmissions, and in medication-assisted therapy, to name a few. We’ve also assessed disparities between plans and geographies.

We know that the lack of good racial, ethnic and linguistic data in the commercial sector – only 11% of commercial health plans in the United States have such data for their entire population – make it difficult to identify specific inequalities among your workforce.

The work we’ve done with CMS, states and health plans illustrates that accurate and actionable disparity tracking can be done. And it can be done now.

Mapping Your Journey: Let us Help

Do you have a research question or need? Contact us! Our expertise in quality measurement gives us the ability to fairly and accurately assess and compare health care quality. You don’t have to wait until health care data systems are perfect; there’s a path to identifying—and addressing—disparities today. NCQA stands ready to help employers overcome the challenge.


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