Journal of Healthcare Management - May/June 2013 - (Page 165)

E q U I T y O F C A R E Equity in Care: Picking Up the Pace Richard J. Umbdenstock, FACHE, president and CEO, American Hospital Association, Chicago, Illinois e liminating disparities in healthcare is a goal of every American hospital. Despite our best efforts, we know that race, ethnicity, and language preference continue to affect the chance that patients will receive the care they need and the outcomes they deserve. For example, Hispanic adults with diabetes are far less likely to receive recommended preventive services and African American women are more likely to die after they are diagnosed with breast cancer than are their white counterparts. Because each hospital comprises and serves a unique community, increasing both the collection and the use of race, ethnicity, and language preference (REAL) data is an essential part of achieving equity in care for all Americans. With good data, hospitals can test the validity of their assumptions about the quality of care they provide. That care may be ideal, but without measurement, it is impossible to know. With careful measurement, every provider can document whether differences in outcomes and opportunities exist so it can improve the quality of care delivered by implementing customized approaches using evidence-based care. Supporting hospital efforts to eliminate disparities is one reason the American Hospital Association is a founding partner in the National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities. With our partners, the American College of Healthcare Executives, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, we set out to achieve three interrelated goals: increase collection of REAL data, increase cultural competency training, and increase diversity in leadership. We have set up the Equity of Care website ( to help hospitals, health systems, clinicians, and others improve the quality of care for each and every patient by sharing resources and best practices. We believe that most healthcare providers are moving in the right direction and that many are taking important steps to make care more equitable. But given the speed of change in our communities, we feel that this process must be accelerated, and information sharing is an important way to facilitate that. Healthcare providers must begin with a basic understanding of the population trends in the community they serve. American communities are undergoing huge demographic changes that may not immediately appear in the patient population of a given provider—but most surely will in the future. For the first time last year, most babies born in the United States were nonwhite. As health insurance coverage increases, each provider will be challenged to provide the best possible care to 165

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of Healthcare Management - May/June 2013

Journal of Healthcare Management - May/June 2013
Interview with Thomas C. Dolan, PhD, FACHE, CAE, President and CEO, American College of Healthcare Executives
Equity in Care: Picking Up the Pace
How Might a Reforming U.S. Healthcare Marketplace Threaten Balance Sheet Liquidity for Community Health Systems?
Assessing the Productivity of Advanced Practice Providers Using a Time and Motion Study
A Positive Deviance Perspective on Hospital Knowledge Management: Analysis of Baldrige Award Recipients 2002–2008
How to Improve Breast Cancer Care Measurement and Reporting: Suggestions from a Complex Urban Hospital
The Fear Factor in Healthcare: Employee Information Sharing

Journal of Healthcare Management - May/June 2013