Quality Field Notes: Improving Equity in Health Care

Reducing Disparities to Improve the Quality of Care for Racial and Ethnic Minorities

    • June 16, 2014

The Challenge

Your health care depends on who you are. Race and ethnicity continue to influence a patient’s chance of receiving many specific health care procedures and treatments. A thorough review of health quality data shows that racial and ethnic minorities continue to receive lower-quality care than Whites.

$60 Billion

$60 Billion

The estimated excess costs associated with disparities in health in 2009.

These differences persist even when insurance status and socioeconomic factors like education and income are taken into account. In its 2012 National Healthcare Disparities Report, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality suggests that disparities in quality of care are common.

Identifying and acting to reduce disparities in care for racial and ethnic minorities has been a core goal of Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) since its inception. In communities across the country, diverse stakeholders are at work sharing data, encouraging collaboration, and making patients and consumers part of improving quality for all. Peruse this collection to learn about the latest approaches to reduce disparities in care for racial and ethnic minorities.

Browse all equity-related resources from the quality field notes series

Engage Patients to Reduce Disparities

Issue Brief: Reducing Disparities in the Quality of Care for Racial and Ethnic Minorities

This issue brief explores key lessons on how communities can share data, encourage collaboration, and make patients and consumers part of improving quality for all. Learn more about reducing disparities in health care.

Take Action to Reduce Disparities

Infographic: Five Things to Remember About Reducing Disparities

This one-page infographic summarizes the five key points for communities and providers to remember when working to reduce disparities. Learn more about RWJF's Quality Field Notes.

AF4Q Grand Rapids

Case Studies: Reducing Disparities

This set of case studies explores how three Aligning Forces for Quality communities worked to reduce disparities. Learn more as we explore how various initiatives were developed and the results achieved thus far.

Quality Field Notes: Equity Interview

Interview: A Cross-Cutting Approach to Understanding Disparities in Care

Thomas E. Love, PhD, director of Better Health Greater Cleveland’s Data Center, discusses how collecting data through electronic health records (EHRs) can lead to improved care for racial and ethnic minorities. Learn more about his work.

Stethoscope on computer keyboard

Resource Guide: Equity

This resource guide provides a list of tools that health providers can use to learn more about strategies for reducing disparities and collecting Race, Ethnicity and Language (REL) data.

Webinar: Improving Health Equity

Even when insurance status, income, and education are equal, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States still don't receive equal treatment and health outcomes. It doesn't have to be that way. On July 28, the Cleveland and Detroit alliances participating in RWJF's Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative presented a webinar on best practices, and lessons learned for improving quality and equity in health care.  

View the webinar recording