Racial and socioeconomic inequity persists in health care quality. An exploratory interview with three hospital leaders substantiated by a review of the literature reveals that hospitals are collecting race, ethnicity and primary language data about their patients. Leading hospitals are now moving beyond data collection to analyzing and using the data to develop targeted interventions for improving access to care for underserved populations. A
The exploratory interviews did identify key strategies that hospitals have adopted to streamline the data collection process:
A review of literature highlighted several approaches for using the patient data collected by hospitals:
- Leading Practices for Using Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data
- Use an equity scorecard or dashboard to report organizational performance
- Inform and customize the language translation services you provide
- Review performance indicators such as length of stay, admissions, and avoidable readmissions
- Review process of care measures
- Review outcomes of care
- Analyze provision of certain preventive care
To meet the needs of their diverse populations, hospitals and health systems will need to bridge the gap between collecting meaningful patient data and reviewing the data to identify inequities in health care provision and utilization, and to implement simple yet effective interventions to improve care for patients.
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