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Session Overview
Closing Plenary: Keynote Address by Dr. Maia Hightower: "Healthcare IT Equity Model: A Framework for Digital Equity"
Tuesday, 02/Nov/2021:
3:45pm - 4:45pm

Location: Salons D-E, Lobby Level, Marriott

Maia Hightower, MD, MPH, MBA is the Chief Medical Information Officer and Sr. Director Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for The University of Utah Health. She joined the UUH team in March of 2019. Prior to joining the University of Utah Health team, she was the Chief Medical Information Officer and Interim Chief Population Health Officer for The University of Iowa Health Care. She joined the faculty of the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine in August of 2015, after serving as Associate Medical Director for Stanford Health Care’s University Healthcare Alliance. Dr. Hightower received her Medical Degree, as well as a Master of Public Health, from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, followed by residencies in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. She also holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. As UUH’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Hightower and her teams transform data into value and drive the exceptional digital experience for patients, faculty, staff, and students. Her teams include the enterprise data warehouse, provider informatics, data science services, FHIR clinical applications, and virtual care that support University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, University of Utah School of Medicine, and University of Utah Health Sciences. Dr. Hightower is a champion for health equity, diversity, and inclusion awareness and initiatives. She developed the Healthcare IT Equity Maturity Model (HITEM) to dismantle structural bias hardwired in healthcare IT and develop an inclusive and equity minded healthcare IT culture. She was recently nominated and accepted into The Leverage Network’s 4th Healthcare Board Initiative (HcBI) Program to enhance the preparedness of Black executives for governance roles in the healthcare industry. Dr. Hightower was recently recognized by Health Data Management as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT” and “25 leading CMIOs at healthcare organizations.” She was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of “50 hospital and health system CMIOs to know 2017”.

Session Abstract

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation across industries, including healthcare, health consumer facing technology and digital access to healthcare services. Without addressing structural inequity and bias in healthcare IT (HIT), we risk “digital redlining”, increasing the disadvantage and decreasing the value of digital transformation among already marginalized communities. The Healthcare IT Equity model (HITEM), provides a change management framework for leaders to develop a multi-year strategy and continuous improvement processes to address organizational structural bias in healthcare IT (HIT), impact healthcare inequities, and develop an equity minded culture. Components of the HITEM model that will be highlighted with examples from the University of Utah Health (UUH) include (1) auditing healthcare algorithms for bias; (2) measuring health outcome disparities using a standard data definition; (3) developing an inclusive HIT culture; HITEM lessons learned can be broadly applied across industries that effect social determinants of health, including the work place, education, technology, and finance.

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