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Behind the ScenesHealth EquityPPE Data

Leveraging Technology to Ensure Health Equity

By December 28, 2020No Comments

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 PPE shortage, Get Us PPE has delivered millions of pieces of donated personal protective equipment, including N95s, nitrile gloves, and surgical masks, to facilities in need.

With thousands of facilities experiencing critical shortages of PPE and a limited supply available, we are often asked: how does Get Us PPE donate millions of pieces of personal protective equipment to those who need it most?

This blog is part of a series on COVID-19 health inequities and how Get Us PPE is working to address them. Read the first piece in the series, Getting PPE Where it is Needed Most: Get Us PPE and Health Equity.

A Foundation in Health Equity

Health equity is the basis of every PPE donation we make. To ensure we prioritize health equity, Get Us PPE developed a unique approach: the Fairness Framework.

A continuous evolution, the Fairness Framework is a living methodology that guides Get Us PPE in two ways: understanding which facilities are most in need and determining the relative amounts of PPE that should be provided to different types of facilities.

The Framework, which will be discussed in future blog posts by our Health Equity Team, was developed by public health experts in consultation with leading medical practitioners from around the United States. It is regularly refined based on the latest available science, data, and public health research.

The first portion of the methodology, understanding which facilities are most in need, is manifested through the Health Equity Factor—a standardized composite score that helps Get Us PPE understand a given facility’s need, relative to other similar facilities. Every facility in need of PPE receives a unique Health Equity Factor.

Health Equity Technology Driven by Data

To determine a facility’s unique Health Equity Factor, Get Us PPE uses 20+ components from a variety of sources: self-reported data, independently verified datasets, and peer-reviewed methodologies.

The first bucket of data comes from self-reported information about the facility and its PPE needs. As part of Get Us PPE’s request process, facilities confidentially share information about their needs, operations, and communities served. This data is reviewed by Get Us PPE team members and independently validated using publicly available datasets.

The second bucket of data includes community-related metrics. These metrics are developed using the precise geographic location of the facility, and include factors such as socioeconomic breakdown, accessibility of healthcare, population metrics (age, percentage deemed higher risk, etc.), and a variety of epidemiological factors.

The final bucket of data focuses on emerging COVID-19 trends and transmission rates. Get Us PPE sources data from around the United States to determine those geographic regions COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting, and uses transmission rates to serve as a forward-looking indicator of where COVID-19 is likely to significantly impact in the coming days and weeks.

Using a combination of the above metrics and data points, Get Us PPE is able to determine a unique Health Equity Factor for each facility requesting PPE.

Over 100,000 Data Points 

Get Us PPE uses 100,000+ unique data points, every day, to update Health Equity Factors for all facilities that have requested PPE.

To process this data and ensure the most up-to-date information, our technology systems are designed to regularly source and track the latest COVID-19 trends. Using this constant stream of new data, Health Equity Factors are updated on a daily basis for each of our 8,000+ facilities, to ensure the latest available COVID-19 data, public health guidance, and Fairness Framework methodology are taken into consideration.

While the methodology is regularly changing to meet the evolving needs of the crisis and frontline workers around the United States, Get Us PPE works to provide PPE to those areas and populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Balancing Health Equity and Efficiency

Health equity is the foundation of everything we do at Get Us PPE, and regularly updated Health Equity Factors help us understand those facilities most in need. However, in addition to health equity, Get Us PPE takes into account a number of added factors, including time-to-delivery and operational efficiency, to ensure we get PPE to the front lines rapidly and achieve the best healthcare outcomes.

In the next post of this series, we will explore how Get Us PPE routes thousands of distributed donations, balancing health equity and operational efficiency.

Are you someone in need of personal protective equipment?

If you are a healthcare worker or frontline worker in need of PPE, submit a confidential request. Get Us PPE will try to match you with donations as soon as possible.

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Cody Reinold