This is a guide for hospitals planning to prepare equity reports. These reports identify ethnic and racial disparities in organizations and suggest ways to reduce them. The authors include case studies of hospitals that have already implemented equity reports.
Racial and ethnic disparities exist in almost all aspects of health care according to the 2006 National Health Care Disparities Report. This guide focuses on the role of equity reports in reducing those disparities by helping health organizations to identify the inequalities in the care they provide and to monitor changes over time. While the majority of hospitals collect data on patients' race and ethnicity, few use the information to assess quality of care, health outcomes and patient satisfaction. In preparing this guide to equity reports, the authors drew on the experiences of hospitals across the United States and make the following recommendations for any hospital planning to address potential inequalities in the care it provides:
- Obtain management buy-in and the support of hospital leadership.
- Determine which data will be collected and how they will be collected, used and stored.
- Maintain integrity in the data collection process.
- Include anecdotes that will bring the report to life.
- Inform the public.
The authors found significant interest in developing equity reports in hospitals throughout the United States. This guide should help those organizations create and use such reports as an aid to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in their organizations.