Princeton, N.J.—Forty percent of black and Hispanic patients receive worse care than their white counterparts, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and a study by the National Urban League Policy Institute revealed that such disparities accounted for an estimated $60 billion in excess health care costs in 2009. A new resource package from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—including an issue brief, videos, case studies, and more—examines how health care providers can better identify and address disparities in care.
“A patient’s race, ethnicity, or preferred language should not influence the quality of care he or she receives when visiting a health care provider,” said Anne F. Weiss, MPP, team director and senior program officer at RWJF. “It is important that providers have access to the best data to identify disparities, and the training necessary to reduce inequalities in care.”
The RWJF package highlights how health care professionals across the country are using race, ethnicity, and language data in hospitals and clinics to raise awareness of disparities in care and develop initiatives to address them.
“Improving equity involves data, it involves training staff, and it involves actual execution through interaction with patients,” said Lisa Sloane, consultant to the Health Collaborative, which leads the Aligning Forces for Quality program in Cincinnati. “It takes time, diligence, and a willingness for systems and providers to work cooperatively for the good of patients.”
The package is part of the Aligning Forces for Quality “Quality Field Notes” series highlighting lessons learned by regional alliances of providers, patients, and payers as they work to transform local health care and provide models for national reform.