Health care disparities, defined as variation in quality and safety of care by patient sociodemographic characteristics, have been a significant and persistent problem in American health care. Simply put, there is no quality and safety without equity. While California hospitals and hospital systems have often been at the forefront of the quest to achieve health equity, significant work remains to be done.
Over the past year, HQI has offered a number of programs to provide hospitals with best practices and know-how for measuring, understanding, and alleviating disparities in care. Notable among the offerings was the Health Equity Track at the HQI Annual Conferences. The track featured national experts such as Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH (discussing the issue of disparities in patient safety) and Michelle Van Ryn, PhD (presenting on the impact of implicit bias on quality and safety of care,) as well as California’s own exemplars of excellence such as the work of building an anti-racism organization at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital discussed by Susan Ehrlich, MD, CEO; and Andrea Turner, JD, COO.
Much of this programming has been posted on the HQI website and is available to hospitals as an enduring resource to take advantage of as needed.