February 24, 2024 2:10 pm
Understanding Health Literacy, Social Determinants, and Discrimination in National Health Policies

In this episode of Managed Care Cast, we are joined by Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola, Candy Magaña, and Dr. Bereket Kindo. They are the lead author, research and project lead, and data scientist of a study published in the February 2024 issue of The American Journal of Managed Care®. The study, titled “Screening for Health Literacy, Social Determinants, and Discrimination in Health Plans,” offers insights into the experiences of patients in a national health plan and how structural determinants of health intersect with social determinants of health and patient demographics.

Dr. Olayiwola serves as the chief health equity officer and senior vice president at Humana, while Magaña holds the position of director of health equity innovation. Dr. Kindo is a lead data scientist at the organization. Their combined expertise in health equity and data science provides a comprehensive understanding of the study’s findings and implications.

The study sheds light on the importance of understanding and addressing factors such as health literacy, social determinants, and discrimination within health plans. By examining how these elements intersect with patient demographics, the study aims to inform strategies for improving the overall health and well-being of individuals within a health plan.

Listeners can tune in on various podcast platforms such as iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, and Spotify to hear the full conversation. During the episode, the guests discuss the significance of their findings and the relevance of their study in the larger context of managed care and health equity.

Their research highlights that managing care requires more than just clinical expertise; it also requires an understanding of social determinants of health (SDoH) such as poverty, education level, housing conditions etc., which have been shown to significantly impact patient outcomes.

Health literacy is another important factor that needs to be considered when designing healthcare plans. The study found that patients with lower levels of literacy were more likely to experience barriers to accessing care or misunderstanding treatment instructions.

Discrimination also plays a significant role in healthcare disparities. Patients from marginalized communities may face discrimination from providers or insurance companies which leads to poorer outcomes.

The guests emphasize that addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach that includes policy changes, provider education on cultural competency, community engagement initiatives etc.

Overall this study provides valuable insights for healthcare providers who want to improve their patients’ outcomes by taking into account SDoH factors such as poverty or housing conditions; addressing barriers related to health literacy; recognizing discrimination against marginalized communities; implementing evidence-based policies; engaging with communities through outreach programs etc.

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