The Path to Health: Black + African American Deep Dive

December, 2023

In early 2023, Horizon’s WHY group and Multicultural practice collaborated to explore healthcare inequities in the US in The Path to Health. The report uncovered how individual identity, resources, and responsibilities impact well-being during the unprecedented change of recent years. Among these variables, race, ethnicity, and culture played a significant role in both systemic issues and individual advantages/disadvantages throughout the journey.

This follow-up report covers how the healthcare journey plays out specifically for the Black and African American population. We dive further into what in-culture, inclusive care looks like for this young, growing, and influential group and offer actionable, real-world solutions for the industry, both short- and long-term.

In brief: 

A legacy of medical racism has left Black and African Americans with a deep mistrust of the US healthcare system. Historically misdiagnosed at higher rates than white patients, Black and African Americans have also been exploited by the U.S. government and the medical community in the name of medical advancement. As one of America’s youngest and most rapidly expanding demographics, catering to Black and African Americans’ distinct needs and working to reestablish trust at each stage of the healthcare journey is essential for healthcare brands. Here’s how they can do it:

  • Acknowledge Systemic Issues: Healthcare brands must communicate up front that they are aware of systemic issues, how they’ve contributed to them, and what they plan to do about it. 
  • Be Transparent: Prioritize cost and coverage transparency before appointments and make sure patients know what to expect when they go in. 
  • Representation, Representation, Representation: Ensure people see their identities reflected at all touchpoints, from marketing efforts to matching patients with providers and care teams of similar identities. 
  • Make Accessing Care Easy: Make getting an appointment — and getting to it — as seamless as possible using a combination of technology, extended hours, and transportation assistance. 
  • Ground Provider Interactions in Cultural Competence: Ensure providers receive cultural competency training and communicate diagnoses and treatment plans in a way that shows they understand their patients. 

To read the full report, click ‘Download PDF’ below.

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