Addressing Disparities in Care to Achieve Health Equity

Health Equity Guide CoverSupporting hospitals in addressing health disparities correlates directly with the MHA Keystone Center’s mission and vision: to support healthcare providers achieve excellence in the outcomes desired by the people they serve and to achieve the highest quality healthcare outcomes that meet individual values.

The MHA Keystone Center is committed to assisting its member hospitals in ensuring that every person in every community receives high-quality, equitable and safe care. This webpage and the Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality guide developed by the MHA Keystone Center provide practical guidance for organizations seeking to eliminate disparities in care to advance health equity, including:

  • The importance of incorporating an equity lens into all improvement strategies, including quality, patient safety and population health, to improve health outcomes and the patient experience.
  • Establishing a common understanding of health organizations’ role in addressing health disparities to achieve equity in care.
  • Assessing each organization’s level of implementation within key categories that are critical components of any organization’s strategic plan to reduce disparities.
  • Providing targeted resources and critical steps to support organizations in their journey to advance current practices towards achieving equity in care.

Addressing Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity Guide

The MHA Keystone Center developed a comprehensive guide, Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality, to assist your organization in addressing health disparities to achieve equitable care by providing key strategies, recommendations for action, implementation levels, and resources to support progress. The print version is linked above, and an online version is forthcoming.   

The MHA Keystone Center encourages organizations to use this guide to assess the current level of hospital implementation around key strategies aimed at reducing disparities, achieving equity and improving quality. The guide will assist organizations in prioritizing and acting on identified gaps, so deliberate and purposeful action is taken to ensure that the outcomes across all patient populations are equitable.

Leaders should ask themselves …

  • “How do I know if we have disparities, and how can I prevent disparities that exist in our patient outcomes?”
  •  “How can I create a culture and system that reduces disparities to improve quality, save lives and reduce cost?”

Health Equity Organizational Assessment

On the journey to eliminating disparities in care and promoting health equity, the critical first step for organizations is to assess their current activity around the seven categories, identified through national research, as critical components of an organization’s ability to identify and address disparities.

I. Data Collection
II. Data Collection Training
III. Data Validation
IV. Data Stratification
V. Communication of Findings
VI. Addressing and Resolving Gaps in Care
VII. Organizational Infrastructure and Culture

The Health Equity Organizational Assessment (HEOA), initially developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Partnership for Patients Health Equity Affinity Group, is designed to help the MHA Keystone Center understand hospitals’ health equity efforts, address potential gaps and disparities in care, and focus efforts and technical assistance. 

The HEOA provides a detailed report with custom feedback to help your organization identify key priorities within the seven categories. Organizations that have completed the assessment are encouraged to continue tracking improvement. If your organization has not completed the assessment, you may do so by requesting access to KeyMetrics.  

Additional Resources

The MHA Community site serves as a shared space for hospitals and members to access resources, connect with colleagues, as well as share information and ideas related to health disparities.

For more information, please contact the MHA Keystone Center.

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