Hospitals are making advances in areas that can promote equitable care, such as collecting demographic data, offering cultural competency training and increasing diversity in leadership, according to a survey from the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity in Health Management. Still, there is room for improvement. For example, hospitals collect data on race (94 percent), ethnicity (87 percent) and primary language (90 percent), but a far smaller percentage use race (26 percent), ethnicity (25 percent) and primary language (28 percent) data to benchmark gaps in care.
Eight in 10 hospitals educate all clinical staff during orientation about how to address the unique cultural, religious and linguistic factors affecting the care of diverse patients, and 61 percent require all employees to attend diversity training.
Hospitals continue to struggle with adding diversity to the board, senior leadership and management ranks. Although minorities represent 29 percent of patients nationally, they comprise only 14 percent of hospital board members, 14 percent of executive leadership positions and 15 percent of management positions.
The survey also found that:
- Hospitals include diversity-related goals in their strategic plans: improving quality of care for diverse populations (54 percent), recruiting and retaining minority groups in the workforce (38 percent), and using reports to measure progress on these goals (30 percent).
- Hospitals are collaborating with external organizations to reduce disparities, including community agencies and advocacy organizations (55 percent), schools and universities (47 percent), other community organizations (47 percent) and faith-based organizations (40 percent).
- Hospitals have planned or implemented disease-specific interventions to reduce disparities for patients with diabetes (27 percent), congestive heart failure (22 percent) and other illnesses.
For more information, go to www.hpoe.org/diversity-disparities.