Evidence for Equity Initiative

Delivery and payment transformation efforts aim to incentivize evidence-based care as a way to achieve higher quality and more affordable care that results in better health outcomes. Yet, the research that comprises the evidence base is incomplete and, in some cases, biased. Families USA launched the Evidence for Equity Initiative to promote the need for representative and transparent evidence to help decision makers implement health system transformation policies that advance health equity instead of making inequities worse. The Initiative will synthesize, translate, and disseminate research findings of particular relevance to addressing disparities, with a special focus on patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER).

Why is better evidence important to health equity?

Most people would agree that they expect their medical care and treatments to be rooted in scientific evidence that shows that they are safe and effective. Reliable, transparent evidence must be the backbone of the health care system, especially as we work to make the health care system more efficient, affordable, and equitable. Unfortunately, the subjects of the clinical and health systems research that generated the current evidence base has not been inclusive of the wide racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of the nation. We don’t really know how applicable the results may be, because for most of history, new medications and treatments were developed based on the results for primarily young, white males. A health care system built on evidence that assumes that whatever works for them should work for everyone is bound to fall short.

Health system transformation depends on a diversified and transparent evidence base

Health system transformation seeks to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Given that we are only one generation away from being a nation that is majority people of color, we will not be able to achieve these objectives without also solving for health equity. Decision makers need representative and transparent evidence as they design new delivery and payment mechanisms, allocate resources to different programs, and implement new policies. The good news is that important initiatives to diversify the evidence base and focus on the issues and questions that matter most to patients are ongoing. Our objective is to ensure that these new findings are synthesized, translated in accessible information that can be disseminated broadly, especially to patients, their providers, and policy makers, so that we can build a better, higher quality, more efficient, and equitable health care system that works for all of us.

This project is supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).