Closing the well being fairness hole

Interacting with healthcare suppliers whereas coping with a medical problem might be an anxiety-raising expertise: on prime of issues about your personal well-being, there are monetary worries and the frustrations of navigating a posh paperwork. It’s much more fraught for sufferers who’re transgender or nonbinary—these people who usually encounter obstacles in lots of settings, together with healthcare. Which is why forward-thinking corporations which are looking for methods to enhance the shopper expertise are additionally bolstering gender-affirming care.

Athenahealth—the Watertown, MA-based firm that creates revolutionary healthcare know-how connecting clinicians, sufferers, payers, and companions by digital well being information, income cycle administration, and affected person engagement instruments—held it first companywide hackathon, during which workers had been tasked with creating code-based product enhancements and different new options that may bridge fairness gaps in healthcare. The venture that in the end moved ahead led to an improved expertise on athenaOne, the corporate’s suite of digital well being information (EHR), medical billing, and affected person engagement options. The most important enhancements enabled extra correct and complete recording and show of affected person info—together with title used, gender identification, and pronouns—all through applicable workflows, summaries, dashboards, and charts.

“It gives consciousness and visibility into the true affected person you’re speaking to and facilitates a greater dialog,” says Chad Dodd, Athenahealth’s vp of product improvement. “That begins on the entrance desk, with making somebody really feel comfy and welcome within the follow, and continues all the way in which into the dialog with the supplier.”

A number of months after the Might 2021 hackathon, greater than 100 workers collaborated throughout a five-day codefest (one other first for the corporate) that introduced a slew of concepts to athenaOne.

This dedication to an idea-driven firm tradition has earned Athenahealth a spot on Quick Firm’s checklist of the Greatest Workplaces for Innovators.


Whereas the hackathon and codefest are essentially the most seen current examples of Athenahealth’s dedication to innovation, they’re removed from the one methods during which the corporate fosters collaboration and recent concepts. The corporate invests roughly $250 million every year in analysis and improvement—practically one third of its 6,000 workers work in R&D.

Athenahealth is concurrently exploring new methods to maximise its wealthy human capital with an elevated dedication to draw, retain, and develop workers from numerous backgrounds and with a broad vary of experiences and views. The objective is to create a office tradition that celebrates uniqueness, expands inclusion, and in the end helps the corporate’s efforts to scale back the results of bias on healthcare. “We take satisfaction in not solely the variety of crew members, however the variety of thought, the openness, and the collaboration amongst them,” Dodd says.

The corporate embeds this method into its company social duty program, athenaGives, which focuses on increasing entry to high-quality healthcare and meals safety, in addition to supporting the event of the suppliers and technologists who will drive that entry sooner or later. This system consists of philanthropy, worker volunteering, and donations. As well as, athenaGives helps STEM training and works in strategic partnership with choose nonprofit organizations—efforts that reinforce the corporate’s values and strengthen its tradition. “With well being fairness, there’s an enormous hole—and an enormous alternative,” Dodd says. “That’s why we’ve a laser concentrate on fixing these issues.”

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