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The SCAN Foundation Partners with Dandelion Health to Advance Health Data Equity for Older Adults

The partnership will advance algorithmic equity for underrepresented patient populations through a free algorithm audit service, enabling responsible and equitable healthcare AI


The SCAN Foundation (TSF), an independent public foundation that catalyzes bold and equitable approaches to how older adults age in both home and community, today announced it has entered into a public-private partnership with technology innovator Dandelion Health to advance algorithmic equity for older adults, especially for historically marginalized populations. The partnership will expand Dandelion’s algorithm validation offering to include social determinants of health (SDOH) of older adults, enabling developers, health systems, and payers from acute to community care settings to create more equitable algorithms used in healthcare AI and other technology applications. This expanded offering is expected to be available in June 2024.

“In this era of rapid AI development, we embrace our collective social responsibility to prioritize inclusivity in technology”

Older adults, a population that will reach 80 million in the U.S. by 2040, are often underrepresented in the data used to train and test healthcare algorithms. This gap has historically exacerbated existing social inequities, especially for communities of color, low-income individuals, and those residing in underserved areas.


“Given that vulnerable populations, especially older adults, tend to be underrepresented in AI/ML training data due to existing health disparities, algorithms built on this data may miss communities most in need,” said Anika Heavener, vice president of innovation and innovations at TSF. “We are excited to partner with Dandelion Health to create more solutions that proactively and equitably represent these populations, which is critical and urgent given the burgeoning age of AI development.”


Dandelion is an emerging leader focused on enabling responsible, equitable healthcare AI. One of Dandelion’s offerings is a free algorithm audit service to help AI developers assess the performance and fairness of algorithms — in general and for underrepresented demographic groups. Dandelion’s free validation service currently includes demographic data on three dimensions — age, race/ethnicity, and self-reported sex. With TSF’s support, Dandelion will expand this cutting-edge audit service to be inclusive of older adults’ SDOH, including the median income, social vulnerability index, and urban/rural status of their home zip code. When completed in June 2024, the expanded offering will be free of charge for most users, with a premium option available for larger organizations.


“Training AI algorithms on unrepresentative or biased datasets risks encoding existing inequities in our healthcare system,” said Elliott Green, CEO of Dandelion. “But with the right data and design, AI algorithms can be a force to remedy those inequities. By building diverse datasets and validation tools, Dandelion is creating the opportunity for the health technology landscape to innovate, build, and test solutions that advance health equitably in a real-world setting.”


Dandelion has built a unique, and representative, multimodal dataset of over 10 million U.S. patients from high-quality regional health systems that include Sharp Health in California, Texas Health in Texas, and Sanford in South Dakota. Dandelion works to not only validate overall algorithm performance but also to enable developers to understand and improve the impact of their algorithm on real patients.


Following the release of Dandelion’s expanded algorithm validation offering, TSF will continue to document and share key learnings publicly to advance data equity.


"In this era of rapid AI development, we embrace our collective social responsibility to prioritize inclusivity in technology,” said Dr. Sarita A. Mohanty, President and CEO of TSF. “Through this collaboration, we are committed to contributing to a future where innovative technological advancements genuinely serve and benefit diverse communities."


TSF uniquely partners with private companies to create solutions that serve a critical public need. TSF invests in partners and initiatives that serve populations aged 65 and older, specifically communities of color, low-income individuals, and those residing in underserved areas. This partnership aligns with TSF’s Advancing Health Equity in Aging Initiative, which aims to reduce health inequities and improve the lives of older adults from marginalized communities.

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