Philadelphia Health Systems Collaborate on Equity Pilot Projects

Philadelphia has consistently come in last out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in rankings based on data analyzing quality of life, health factors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. In response, the major healthcare entities in the Philadelphia region have come together to take a new approach to health equity.

The Accelerate Health Equity effort brings together AmeriHealth Caritas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Jefferson Health, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple Health and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic. The goal of bringing together organizations across the region is to produce tangible improvement in health inequities, and ultimately achieve measurable, positive changes in health outcomes in Philadelphia. Participants say they are digging deep into the data and shaping pilot programs to address health conditions and social determinants of health.

“As a city, we are strongest when we work together, which is why we are so pleased to work with these outstanding local organizations to lead the way to building a healthier and more equitable Philadelphia. This collaboration and ability to scale successful pilots will be vital in breaking down systemic inequities and racial disparities that have affected the health and well-being of our communities,” said Cheryl Bettigole, M.D, M.P.H, City of Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner, in a statement.

Accelerate Health Equity includes three core components:

• Launching Pilot Programs: Individual pilot programs tied to identified areas that impact health outcomes.

• Measuring Progress: A publicly available digital health equity dashboard based on data provides an in-depth view of 16 health equity challenge areas and will also track progress of pilot programs.

• Collaborating to Scale: Pilot programs will be evaluated and information will be disseminated to inform health and service providers and quickly scale successful pilot programs to expand their reach and impact.

The pilot programs will tackle issues such as maternal morbidity and mortality, cancer screening and prevention, neighborhood conditions and reducing the risk of heart disease. These specific disparities were chosen after a review of the County Health Rankings and the Community Health Needs Assessment data and neighborhood analyses identified them as the most urgent issues.

Initial pilot programs include: Housing Smart from Temple Health focusing on housing and support services for people without housing; Closing the Gap,  Jefferson Health’s partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. that looks at social determinants of health that impact cardiovascular health outcomes in low-resource communities; Independence Blue Cross’s and AmeriHealth Caritas’s Keystone Connection to Wellness with Project HOME focused on maternal health outcomes; Penn Medicine’s focus on heart attack risk reduction through its Penn Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) Risk Reduction Program; and Together For West Philadelphia, an initiative chaired by leaders from Main Line Health and Trinity Mid-Atlantic to maximize the impact of health equity in West Philadelphia.

In a statement, Sandra E. Brooks, M.D., M.B.A., executive vice president and chief community health equity officer at Jefferson Health, said that “in order to make a substantial impact on the advancement of health equity, we must work collaboratively with the families we serve, community-based organizations, and each other. Accelerate Health Equity will bring the strength and focus of major regional entities to bear on the huge gaps in health outcomes experienced by vulnerable populations. That is fundamentally why the Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity was founded, and why we are excited about this important initiative.”

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