Hospitals are making some progress to achieve health equity, but more work needs to be done, according to a biennial benchmarking survey released today by the AHA’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management. The survey found significant increases from 2013 in the percentage of hospitals that are using data on patient race, ethnicity and language to identify gaps in care and implement programs to improve quality. However, fewer than half of the hospitals surveyed used the data in this way. In addition, 80% of hospitals educate all clinical staff during orientation about how to address the unique cultural and linguistic factors affecting the care of patients, and 79% offer continuing education opportunities on cultural competence. While minorities represent 32% of hospital patients nationally in 2015, according to the survey, only 14% of hospital board members and 11% of executive leadership were minorities – similar to the results of the 2013 survey. “Hospitals across America are working hard to advance quality and improve care for every individual,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Understanding why different patient populations in a community may experience different outcomes is a critical piece of those efforts. The survey tells us that we have not made as much progress as we would have liked in some key areas. It shines a light on where more attention is needed to meet the expectations of patients and communities.” The AHA has launched its #123forEquity campaign to help accelerate progress on achieving health equity.

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