Sharon Jhawar, Chief Pharmacy Officer at SCAN Health Plan, said the organization researched their health plans to figure out what inequities existed in their members. What stood out was that their quality was lower for Black members and they weren't meeting their needs. They also saw in medication adherence, a significantly lower percentage of their Hispanic and Black members who were non-adherent. With the help of AI and cultural matching patients with physicians, they have noticed the improvement of adherence from their patients.
Sharon Jhawar, chief pharmacy officer at SCAN Health Plan, spoke at the annual AMCP meeting in San Antonio this week about the unfortunate relationship between medication adherence and racial health disparities.
One solution to this problem is matching members to conditions and physicians with a shared culture and language.
"The language side, it's easier to understand, right? If someone is speaking the language that you are familiar with, you're more likely to understand how to take care of your health and what they're telling you," Jhawar said. "On the cultural side, what we found was that if someone can relate to you better and understand you better because they share the same background. In this case, whether, if I'm Black and I'm speaking to one of my Black members, I have deeper insights."
What SCAN found from their research was a lot of trust was built.
"People opened up about why they weren't taking their medications, and then we could better help them," she said. "So, the shared culture and language together, we found was instrumental in helping both our Black and Hispanic members kind of get on a better path with taking their medications."