Ep 157 – Achieving Health Equity Through Innovation and Transformation, with Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola

This week we have the honor of being joined by a world-renowned family physician and health equity expert, with deep experience in value-based care transformation, technology and innovation, and health disparities improvement.  You are going to hear from the one and only Dr. Nwando Olayiwola, a leader in this Race to Value who is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to fair, high quality and equitable health and health care, no matter their background. To achieve this, she has committed her career to health system reform, practice transformation, primary care redesign and leveraging technology and other innovations to mitigate health disparities.

Dr. Olayiwola is Nigerian American physician, professor, author, speaker, consultant, and health equity leader. She was named the American Telemedicine Associate’s Woman of the Year in 2019, she was named one of the most influential minority executives in healthcare by Fierce Healthcare in 2021. Dr. O is a tireless advocate for healthcare of underserved populations, women and girls, and community and social determinants of health and innovations in technology, and the intersection of social justice and healthcare. As the inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer and senior VP of Humana, a role that she started in 2021, and she’s responsible for setting equity agenda and strategy for Humana.

In this episode, you will learn about the enablement of an equitable healthcare ecosystem through actionable data, performance measurement and quality improvement, health equity innovation, and relationship-based care.

Episode Bookmarks: 

01:30 Introduction to Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola, a Nigerian American physician, professor, author, speaker, consultant, and health equity leader.

02:30 Dr. O is the inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer and senior VP of Humana.

04:00 Personal background and formative experiences that has led Dr. O towards a career path in healthcare equity transformation.

05:30 The Health Equity Journey at Humana. (“Making Health Equity Part of the Value of Value-Based Care”)

06:45 Humana became a pioneer of health justice and health equity in rebuilding and uniting Louisville after the murder of Breonna Taylor.

07:00 Humana’s Bold Goal Population Health Initiative to enable an equitable healthcare ecosystem.

07:45 “We need to innovate constantly in the way that we deliver and finance healthcare. It must fit within the lives of people’s own lived experience.”

08:00 Optimism for the evolution of our healthcare ecosystem to better prioritize health equity.

09:00 “We must do everything we can to eliminate barriers to healthcare that are unnecessary, that are avoidable, and that are unjust.”

09:45 Imagining a world where healthcare is more than just having an insurance card – it actually becomes an equitable ecosystem of liberation and authenticity.

10:30 Dr. O provides specifics on the various types of health disparities that we encounter in our country and how those impact minoritized and marginalized populations.

12:00 Dr. O’s TED Talk: “Combating Racism and Place-ism in Medicine

13:00 How is Humana positioning itself as a catalyst for equity innovation by leveraging it health plan and provider assets collectively?

15:00 How the Health Equity movement mirrors the path of the Health Quality movement following the “To Err is Human” report.

16:30 Referencing landmark National Academy of Medicine paper: “An Equity Agenda for the Field of Health Care Quality Improvement”

17:00 Measuring health equity on dashboards measuring organizational performance.

18:00 “We must get the right data to validate we are providing culturally affirming, culturally sensitive, and culturally humble care to people we’re caring for.”

18:00 Referencing NEJM Catalyst article on how Humana developed a health disparities impact measure:  “Building the Foundation for Reducing Disparities in Medicare Advantage

19:30 The need for committed leadership to support health equity work.

20:45 The importance of equity-focused executive hiring practices and actionable SDOH data capture.

22:00 Preventive care measures as a component of a health equity action plan.

22:45 Social Barriers preventing Equitable Care: Financial Strain, Food Insecurity, Housing Instability, Loneliness, Lack of Transportation.

23:00 Positive correlation between social risk and high medical loss ratio.

24:00 Building a more relationship-based delivery model of care that engenders trust between patients and providers.

25:30 The importance of continuous learning in health equity through performance measurement, testing, and validation.

26:30     Building partnerships with Community Benefit Organizations (CBOs) across the country.

27:00 Leveraging insights from acquired data intelligence on underserved communities to improve patient health literacy and economic empowerment.

29:00 “Our vision is that every person will have a fair, just, and dignified opportunity to reach their full health potential.”

30:45 Inspiration from Oprah Winfrey: “I firmly believe that none of us in this world have made it until the least among us have made it.”

31:45 How structural racism limits the positive impact of education as an ultimate opportunity equalizer.

32:30 Learning from Serena Williams’ challenge in accessing equitable health care.

34:00 Working at the “speed of trust” to overcome generational traumas from racism and inequities in healthcare.

35:30 “Trust is earned – it is not given.”