Quality Quarterly

HQI Launches Web Page to Help Address Health Care Disparities

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. While California hospitals are often at the forefront of the quest to achieve equitable health care, significant work remains. 

To assist hospitals with uncovering, understanding, and alleviating disparities, HQI has launched a new web page — Hospital Strategies for Combating Health Care Disparities.

The web page provides broad-based hospital strategies and tools for addressing disparities, as well as a section specific to perinatal disparities.   

Disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity remain striking. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women and their risk of severe maternal morbidity is twice that of white women even after adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic factors, and comorbidities. Significant evidence points to implicit bias and racism as major factors in these perinatal disparities.   

The new web page can help hospitals meet the requirements of Senate Bill 464 (California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act), which requires California hospitals to educate perinatal care staff about implicit bias. The page provides a link to an e-learning course for perinatal staff and providers developed by Diversity Science and funded by California Health Care Foundation.  The course is free to  member hospitals and provides trainees with information and skills for mitigating racism and negative effects of implicit bias. The first course module is available now, while the complete course is expected to be ready by February 2021.