3 min read

Ensuring Equity in Virtual Healthcare [Webcast Recap]

By Megan Bedford on 11/13/20 1:17 PM

What is virtual care?

As healthcare organizations look for ways to increase value, reduce costs, and improve access to services, the industry has begun to embrace digital technologies, including video, audio, mobile apps, and text messaging. 

Topics: health equity cultural competency covid-19 virtual care
5 min read

News Media Call on Dr. Betancourt to Illuminate COVID-19 Disparities

By Megan Bedford on 4/16/20 7:46 PM

Top media outlets, including NPR and CNN, have turned to Quality Interactions Co-Founder, Dr. Joseph Betancourt, to better report on the critical issue of health disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Even in the absence of adequate race and ethnicity data, a clear picture of disparities in COVID-19's impact has nonetheless emerged: Black and Latino communities are the hardest hit. This is not due to features of the virus itself, but is an indicator of social conditions—including population density and socioeconomic status—which put black and Latino individuals at higher risk for contracting and perishing from the respiratory illness.

 

Dr. Betancourt is on the front lines of the epidemic at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he serves as Vice President and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, as well as a primary care physician. As a leading expert in health equity, Dr. Betancourt has been named to the City of Boston COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force, alongside Quality Interactions CEO, Michele Courton Brown.

 

This summary of Dr. Betancourt's recent interviews provides a primer on how COVID-19 has created a perfect storm for communities of color and offers direction for how municipalities and institutions should apply immediate efforts to stem the tide.

 

Topics: health equity health disparities covid-19
2 min read

Best Practices for Working with Medical Interpreters

By Megan Bedford on 6/14/18 9:44 AM

Address the patient, speak clearly, avoid jargon, and check for comprehension

If you’re a healthcare provider who works with some of the 25 million limited English proficient (LEP) patients in the U.S., you know how important interpretation is to successful patient outcomes. Poor communication increases the chance of medical errors with any patient, and LEP individuals are especially vulnerable in this regard.

Topics: Cross-cultural issues Language & literacy Language barriers Interpreters health equity
3 min read

News Roundup | Week of June 8, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 6/8/18 3:27 PM

In this week's News Roundup:
  • Creating Financial Success at a Small Rural Hospital
  • Gender Bias Hinders Research in Chronic Disease
  • The Business Case for Racial Equity

Creating Financial Success at a Small Rural Hospital

An in-depth piece from Politico Magazine explores how a small, rural hospital in Kansas has become an economic powerhouse by serving the local refugee/immigrant population and specializing in labor and delivery. Ben Anderson, the hospital's CEO, relies on community partnerships, infrastructure grants, and targeted recruiting. His recruiting model is especially interesting: He attracts young physicians who are interested in helping Third World populations. "You can do that work right here in Kansas," he says. Having a staff that actively seeks to work with diverse populations improves patient experience and outcomes.

Topics: health equity News Roundup cultural competency maternal mortality
4 min read

You Signed the #123forEquity Pledge. Now What?

By Megan Bedford on 5/24/18 10:20 AM

To date, 1,656 organizations, 51 state hospital associations, and 11 municipal hospital associations have signed onto the American Hospital Association's (AHA) #123forEquity Pledge to eliminate healthcare disparities. That means every state, and nearly 30% of our nation's hospitals, are represented in the movement to improve health equity. But the road between pledging good intention and effecting actionable change can be poorly marked, and dotted with unseen obstacles. In this post we'll review the key tenets of the AHA's Equity of Care Campaign, rationale for participation, and key actions hospitals and health systems can start to focus on today.

Topics: health equity health disparities cultural competency #123forEquity
5 min read

News Roundup | Week of April 27, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 4/27/18 12:21 PM

Asian Americans Undertreated for Mental Health Disorders

Topics: mental health stigma health equity health disparities News Roundup cultural competency maternal mortality
5 min read

News Roundup | Week of April 20, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 4/20/18 5:00 PM

Racial Bias Isn't Just a Problem at Starbucks

A video of two black men getting arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia has sparked widespread outrage directed at both Starbucks and the police. In response, Starbucks announced that it will close 8,000 stores in May so employees can engage in racial bias training. "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution," said CEO Kevin Johnson. The problem certainly isn't limited to one company, or one industry, or one region of the country. There are any number of examples of white Americans calling the police on black Americans without real justification. Deeply ingrained and unconscious racial bias routinely leads to instant, often fear-based judgements about people that can have dire consequences. The question is, what can we do to break this cycle?  

Topics: LEP Language barriers Interpreters health equity health disparities unconscious bias News Roundup maternal mortality
4 min read

News Roundup | Week of April 6, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 4/6/18 1:04 PM

We're Failing Dr. King's Legacy in Healthcare

This past week marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. Dr. King famously said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane." He said that in 1966. In 2018, the US still struggles with pervasive health inequality that weakens our overall healthcare system, and reduces our standing compared to other developed nations. The city of Atlanta, where Dr. King grew up and went to college, is a national healthcare hub, boasting world-class healthcare facilities. It is home to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, and several schools of medicine and public health. But Atlanta also has some of the widest gaps in black and white health outcomes in the country. Among these disparities are:

Topics: health equity health disparities unconscious bias News Roundup
4 min read

News Roundup | Week of March 30, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 3/30/18 9:57 AM

Implicit Bias Controversy Based on Misunderstandings

Implicit bias, and especially the Implicit Association Test (IAT), has been the subject of recent debate in both scientific and popular press. Is the IAT accurate? Are its findings useful? Does the concept of implicit bias impede efforts to address explicit bias? A new piece in Scientific American argues that the controversy around implicit bias and the IAT is based on fundamental misunderstandings. For example, the IAT isn't designed to predict individual behavior, like how a particular physician will interact with a particular patient. Rather, the aggregate data can help predict (and correct) big-picture functions.

Topics: health equity health disparities unconscious bias News Roundup maternal mortality
4 min read

News Roundup | Week of March 9, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 3/9/18 3:42 PM

Cancer Screening Recommendations Put Nonwhite Women at Risk

In the United States, the recommended age for women to begin routine mammograms for cancer screening was recently increased to 50 years of age. This was based on a study of 747,763 mostly white women showing that breast cancer diagnoses peaked in their 60s. But researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have published a new study in JAMA Surgery that shows black, Hispanic, and Asian women tend to get breast cancer earlier than white women. A lack of data from racially diverse populations could put nonwhite women at risk for delayed diagnosis. According to David Chang, PhD, MBA, MPH, of the MGH department of surgery and an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, "The situation with breast cancer is one of the best examples of how science done without regard to racial differences can produce guidelines that would be ultimately harmful to minority patients."

Topics: stigma cancer care health equity health disparities unconscious bias News Roundup

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