Assuring Healthcare Quality: A Healthcare Equity Blueprint

National Public Health and Hospital Institute and the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and The Disparities Solutions Center, with the support of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health)
Washington, DC, USA
 
The Healthcare Equity Blueprint offers strategies and practices that can be tailored to the individual hospital to address equity in providing quality care. The Blueprint is a starting point for designing and implementing interventions to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Aspects of this Blueprint apply to numerous health care settings, but the primary focus is on hospitals. In addition, the Blueprint should be considered "a work in progress," to be improved and modified by hospitals that use it. The interventions can be tailored to the individual hospital setting.
 
The proposed improvement strategies are grouped into the following five categories:
  1. Create Partnerships with the Community, Patients, and Families
  2. Exercise Governance and Executive Leadership for Providing Quality and Equitable Care
  3. Provide Evidence-Based Care to All Patients in a Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Manner
  4. Establish Measures for Equitable Care
  5. Communicate in the Patient’s Language — Understand and be Responsive to Cultural Needs and Expectations
 
The Blueprint also provides recommended tools and resources and guidelines on the collection and measurement of data related to addressing health care disparities.
 
Executives and governing bodies may use this Blueprint to organize and prioritize the goals, strategies, expected outcomes, and performance benchmarks for addressing health care equity within their established strategic planning process. Working groups within the hospital may identify specific changes in care and support operations that can be tested initially on a small scale within an organizational unit.

Background
In April 2007, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH), through its research and education affiliate, the National Public Health and Hospital Institute (NPHHI), convened a meeting of national experts on health care disparities, quality improvement, and hospital administration. The purpose: to outline a framework for hospitals to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
 
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) synthesized the expert group’s input into practical strategies and approaches that hospitals, health centers, and individual providers can use to ensure that all patients receive the same high quality care. The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital provided expert review.
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