HIMSS, in statement on racial inequity, pledges to 'drive meaningful change'

The healthcare organization noted that it will work to develop actionable programs to mitigate health disparities and conceptualize a Global HIMSS Service Day.
By Kat Jercich
02:36 PM
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HIMSS, the parent company of Healthcare IT News, released a statement this week in response to the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, promising to work toward mitigating inequities in the healthcare system.

"As a mission-driven member association, dedicated to transforming the health ecosystem, we have a responsibility to reject all forms of prejudice and address the inequities people face every day. We owe it to our staff, our members, our communities and every human everywhere, to take a very clear stance and condemn these acts of violence, which represent a blatant disregard for basic human rights," said HIMSS leadership in the statement.

"Race is a significant social determinant of health, and there are long-standing disparities in access to care and health outcomes that must be tackled," the statement continued.

Racism is a major driver of health inequity. Professional organizations such as the American Medical Association have noted that police violence, "particularly among Black and Brown communities where these incidents are more prevalent and pervasive," is a public health issue, with potential for further harm amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its statement, HIMSS said that it launched the HIMSS Global Health Equity Network last year – building upon the efforts of Women in Health IT and the African-American and Latinx Special Interest Groups – to create an inclusive workforce, decrease disparities in underrepresented groups, improve healthcare access and advocate for "true health equity for all."

Over the next four weeks, the statement said, the network will be developing programs and thought leadership to address healthcare disparities. Healthcare IT News has reached out to HIMSS for additional details about the plans, including information on metrics that will be used to gauge success, and will update this story when we know more.

The statement highlighted HIMSS' commitment to "measuring social disparities in our maturity models to help highlight and support the never-ending conscious choice we all must make every day to support a fair and healthy world in which we realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere."

HIMSS will also be conceptualizing a Global HIMSS Service Day focused on making change in community healthcare, according to the statement.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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