Addressing health disparities is not just the right thing to do, it is essential for performance excellence and overall improved community health.
That’s why the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States and America’s Essential Hospitals have issued a call to action to eliminate health care disparities.
The call has three components:
• increasing the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data
• increasing cultural competency training
• increasing diversity in governance and leadership
Hospitals are making progress. Equity of Care and the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative shared data from the Institute for Diversity in Health Management’s most recent benchmarking survey. The survey shows that improvements are being made in cultural competence training and the collection of race, ethnicity and language data, among other areas. The Committee on Governance and other AHA groups discussed Equity of Care at their fall meetings, but more work remains to be done.
This summer, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, received the inaugural Equity of Care Award for its efforts to increase diversity and reduce disparities in care. University Hospitals, Cleveland, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, and Lutheran HealthCare, New York City, were honored as finalists.
These organizations, and others, are sharing their knowledge and best practices in a series of webinars, available at www.hpoe.org. Recent topics included making data more meaningful and the importance of linking equity-focused training and education efforts with strategic priorities and values.
To further assist the field, HPOE this fall released a host of new resources, including a compendium of all of the diversity and equity-related resources in its library.
For more on the call to action and available resources, visit www.equityofcare.org.
Bina Eggensperger (firstname.lastname@example.org), is COG chair and a trustee of Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, Mont.