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The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) developed the Improving Health Equity: Assessment Tool for Health Care Organizations to help health care organizations evaluate their current health equity efforts and determine where to focus improvement efforts. Teams use this assessment to provide direction for building an equity strategy and promote conversations within the organization to improve health equity.
The assessment was developed by working and learning alongside eight US health care systems participating in the two-year Pursuing Equity initiative (2017–2019) to understand key actions to make equity sustainable and impactful. The process of improving health equity is not linear; however, in using this assessment, your organization will be able to identify current achievements and opportunities to take action to further improve equity.
It is important to establish explicit definitions of several terms used in the assessment.
“Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.”
Differences in health outcomes that are systematic, avoidable, and unjust.
Multiple determinants of health: The range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence the health status.
The 2016 IHI White Paper, Achieving Health Equity: A Guide for Health Care Organizations, describes a five-component framework to guide equity improvement efforts (see Figure 1). Our work with the eight Pursuing Equity health systems validated the five components of the framework and added nuance. This assessment tool uses this revised five-component framework and our learnings from working with the eight health systems to enhance the initial assessment tool included in the white paper. This updated assessment tool went through several iterations of feedback from health system end-users and we expect the assessment, as a living document, will continue to evolve and be improved with continued testing and feedback.
Figure 1 IHI Framework for Health Care Organizations to Improve Health Equity
To learn more about this topics and how Health Care Organizations can improve health equity, download the full tool for free: Improving Health Equity: Assessment Tool for Health Care Organizations.