Study Examines Quality Of Care For Minority Patients
"Disparitiesin Health Care Are Driven by Where Minority Patients Seek Care:Examination of the Hospital Quality Alliance Measures," Archives of Internal Medicine: For the report, Romana Hasnain-Wynia of the Health Research and Educational Trust, Joel Weissman of Harvard Medical School and Anne Beal, senior program officer of the Commonwealth Fund, examined quality-of-care data reported by U.S. hospitals participating in the Hospital Quality Alliance,which measures and reports on quality-of-care data. Data was collectedon 320,970 adult patients from 123 teaching hospitals across thenation.
Forty percent of the patients were minorities. Based on 13quality measures for treatment of acute myocardial infarction,congestive heart failure, community-acquired pneumonia and patientcounseling, researchers found small, statistically significantdisparities in all but one of the quality measures. After ranking thehospitals based on performance, researchers also found that minoritieswere more likely to receive care from the lower-performing hospitals.
The most significant disparity was found in counseling services, suchas smoking cessation services. Researchers suggested that"communication training may improve the rates of the counselingmeasures for minority patients." They suggested more research todetermine the effect that low performing hospitals have on disparitiesin care but added, "Policy recommendations may need to focus onpay-for-improvement metrics for those under-resourced providers caringfor the most disadvantaged populations" (Commonwealth Fund release, 6/25).
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