While there is a moral argument for health equity and healthcare as a human right, there is also a business case to be made. Inequitable care is costly and leads to local, regional, and national economic consequences. We've compiled evidence showing that inequities lead to measurable performance and economic consequences to hospitals. Physicians can use this evidence to move hospital leadership toward adoption of an effective health equity infrastructure and work towards closing the health equity gap.
Length-of-stay is a common driver of hospital cost and is often a target for quality improvement activities. Non-white patients have an increased length of stay across a variety of conditions. Hospitals that create an effective health equity infrastructure can use existing quality improvement processes to decrease the length of stay in these populations.
The Medicare Readmission Reduction Program incentivizes hospitals to decrease 30 day readmission rates. As a result, these readmission rates are closely tracked, and therefore valued by hospital leadership. Similar to length of stay, non-white patients have a higher readmission rate for may common conditions. Creating a health equity infrastructure may allow hospital systems to decrease their readmission rates.
Educating health professionals to work toward health equity
Health Professionals will use their voice, knowledge, and influence to eliminate the inequities that exist in health and healthcare, while working effectively with their patients, health systems, communities, and decision makers to address health equity wherever they live, work, learn, and play.