Health disparities can be defined as inequalities that exist when members of certain population groups do not benefit from the same health status as other groups. The evolving definition of diversity is inclusive of race, ethnicity, language preference, disability status, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, and socioeconomic factors. Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.
Health care disparities impact quality of care, health outcomes and overall cost of care. For example, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience medical errors, adverse outcomes, longer lengths of stay and avoidable readmissions (HRET, 2013). Racial and ethnic minorities are also less likely to receive evidence-based care for certain conditions. Disparities impact the cost of care; a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 30 percent of direct medical costs for African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans are excess costs due to health inequities (KFF, 2012).
By partnering with the Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFD) and the #123forequity Campaign, HRET has unique access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), education and resources that will help hospitals identify and eliminate disparities in care. In addition, the HRET HIIN will convene Patient and Family Engagement (PfE) groups to receive and incorporate their feedback and suggestions on improving equity of care and eliminating health care disparities.
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Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). (2013, November). Rising above the noise: Making the case for equity in care. Chicago: Health Research & Educational Trust. Retrieved from HRET's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence website: http://www.hpoe.org/
Smedley, B.D., Stith, A.Y., and Nelson, A.R. (2002). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Institute of Medicine Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, Board on Health Policy, Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved from the National Academies Press website: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10260/unequal-treatment-confronting-racial-and-ethnic-disparities-in-health-care
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). (2012, December). Disparities in health and health care: Five key questions and answers (Issue Brief No. 8396). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from the KFF website: http://kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/disparities-in-health-and-health-care-five-key-questions-and-answers/Back to Top