Enhancing Public Hospitals' Reporting of Data on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care

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To assess the ability of hospitals with large minority populations to use existing quality-of-care measures to reduce racial/ethnic disparities, the researchers analyzed quality-related data on acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia by patients' race and ethnicity from five major public hospitals. Senior clinical and administrative leaders were interviewed about their use of quality data and views on disparities and public data reporting. These hospitals exceeded national norms on most measures, and high performance was mostly consistent across racial and ethnic groups. While the findings should be interpreted cautiously, the data indicated some disparities in performance measures related to patient communication. The study also revealed limitations in use of commonly accepted quality measures for detecting disparities. None of the study hospitals had previously looked at these measures by race or ethnicity, and hospital leaders were not in agreement as to whether such data should be publicly reported.


Funder: Commonwealth Fund.

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Open Access