We believe in finding answers to some of the most pressing health questions and generating evidence that can improve lives. Living up to our mission, and the larger Anthem mission of improving the health of communities, will require creating a healthcare system that is accessible and equitable.
Sadly, there is still much work to be done to achieve this goal. We know that communities of color have historically been at a disadvantage when it comes to health outcomes and are disproportionately impacted by illnesses and chronic disease. Most notably over the past year, COVID-19 has amplified and compounded racial inequalities and disparities that affect communities across the country.
In recognition of these disparities, we conduct studies to better understand issues that disproportionately impact Black and Hispanic/Latino communities and ensure that our studies reflect diverse populations.
Improving Maternal and Infant Health
Research has found significant disparities in birth outcomes based on race and ethnicity, with Black and Hispanic/Latino mothers and children experiencing worse health outcomes. One of these outcomes, preterm birth, is the focus of our PRIME (Prematurity Risk Assessment Combined with Clinical Interventions for Improved OutcoMEs) study with Sera Prognostics. Defined as “any birth before 37 weeks gestation,” preterm birth is the leading cause of illness and death in newborns. It is also associated with an increased risk of major long-term medical complications, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, chronic respiratory illness, intellectual disability, seizures, and vision and hearing loss.
The PRIME study determines whether a blood test, when paired with clinical interventions, can lead to improved outcomes for newborns and their mothers. The study will include approximately 5,600 women across diverse patient profiles, geographies, and ethnicities to determine generalizable impacts to pregnant women enrolled in Anthem affiliated health plans.
Studying a New COVID-19 Syndrome in Children
As part of our commitment to combat the global pandemic, address health inequities and meet the evolving needs of Anthem members, we launched the MUSIC (Long-TerM OUtcomes after the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children) study in September, 2020. The study will be the first to provide long-term outcome data on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
MIS-C, a rare condition associated with COVID-19, can cause severe illness including fever and inflammation of multiple bodily systems. The condition usually occurs in otherwise healthy children that have been exposed to COVID-19 and disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic/Latino children.
The MUSIC study will include approximately 600 children and capture data from children who have already been diagnosed and recovered, as well as those who become infected within the coming 24 months.
We will continue our work to close gaps in evidence and drive better standards of care. Together, I believe we can help create a more equitable healthcare future through the application of the real-world evidence we generate.