HEALTH EQUITY

A nation as diverse as the United States must focus on improvements in safety outcomes for all people. We recognize the fabric of our diverse backgrounds and experiences make this country strong.

 

Diversity and inclusion are critical elements in the fight against medical harm. A focus on diversity ensures varying voices will be represented whether by one’s professional role, regional place of residence, gender, age, sexual orientation or race.

 

The adoption of Safety Across the Board as a core part of the CAPS programming prioritizes the need to understand health disparities and their relationship to adverse events and medical harm. Historically, safety, quality and equity have not been presented uniformly as parallel goals in the quest to improve safety. As a result, diversity in the community of patient advocates and other stakeholders has not been seen. The lack of focus in this area results in a lack of understanding of disparities in safety outcomes. Diversity has not been a common attribute in the health care safety agenda.

 

Hospitals and health service delivery providers recognize the rapidity of change occurring in the communities and patient populations they serve. That change impacts the patient experience and service delivery. Understanding the demographic changes of these groups leads to understanding the changing health care needs of the environment. Recent studies reveal evidence that some types of adverse events occur more frequently in certain demographic subgroups of patients (AHRQ, 2014). This national data suggests that disparities are not only an issue of access related to conditions such as asthma and heart failure. Rather, data shows that inequalities may indeed exist because of unequal distributions of care and /or are embedded in our institutional systems as stereotype and bias.