Defining Health Equity
Source: Healthy People 2020
Health Equity: Attainment of the highest level of health for all people.
Health Disparities: A health difference that is closely linked with social, economic and/or environmental disadvantage, such as race, age, sexual identity and disability.
Social Determinants Of Health: The range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors, such as education, income and employment, that influence health status.
Health equity is synonymous with equitable care. Every person, regardless of race, gender or neighborhood, deserves access to the highest level of healthcare.
Barriers to equitable care, such as demographic and socioeconomic factors, lead to health disparities. These barriers are a growing health concern and addressing them is the only way to fully achieve health equity across the entire spectrum. The MHA Keystone Center is committed to providing its members with various resources, educational and networking opportunities, best practices and lessons learned to ensure the communities they serve receive equitable care.
The MHA Keystone Center is focusing its work around four key strategies:
- Ensure hospital preparedness to address health disparities through the consistent collection of accurate demographic data.
- Utilization of patient demographic data to identify disparities within each community.
- Development of proper interventions to address identified disparities.
- Deployment of organizational resources needed to sustain the delivery of equitable care.
In addition, the MHA Keystone Center launched the Health Equity Organizational Assessment in early 2019 to evaluate its member hospitals’ current efforts around health equity. The assessment evaluated the ability to identify and address health disparities in seven specific areas. Based on the survey results, the MHA Keystone Center identified areas of opportunity, next steps and recommendations to identify and address disparities in care.
Eliminating Disparities in Maternal Health
There is no greater divide in equitable care than that of mothers and infants. Racial and ethnic minorities experience higher rates of maternal and infant mortality than white counterparts – which is largely attributed to barriers, such as access to care and unconscious bias.
An estimated 44% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.
*Michigan Maternal Mortality Surveillance Committee, 2011-2015
Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (MI AIM)
The MHA Keystone Center is a partner with the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (MI AIM), a maternal safety and quality improvement initiative. MI AIM collaborates with Michigan hospitals to improve the health outcomes of mothers by equipping clinical staff in labor and delivery units with the education, equipment, protocols and hands-on training required to prevent maternal death and diagnose and treat severe, life-threatening complications that may occur during labor and delivery. The MI AIM initiative builds upon the work that was started in 2009 with the MHA Keystone: Obstetrics collaborative. Funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), the effort supported and guided Michigan hospitals in identifying best practices to eliminate preventable harm to mothers and newborns and to improve the comprehensive delivery of care.
“Working in conjunction with Michigan AIM has allowed us to make significant strides in improving the recognition and management of post-partum hemorrhage in our patients. We have done this by creating treatment algorithms that help us recognize and manage this complication much earlier and aggressively. This has led to reduced frequency of blood transfusions and improved maternal outcomes.”
- Denny R. Martin DO, FACOOG, Executive Medical Director of Physician Performance, Sparrow Health System
The MHA Keystone Center is also a supporter of the BCBSM-funded Obstetrics Initiative, a quality improvement project working to support vaginal delivery and safely reduce the use of cesarean delivery among low risk births.
Workshops Address Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health
Care Transitions – Key to Population Health Statewide Summit
In June 2019, nearly 175 healthcare professionals from across Michigan gathered for the Care Transitions – Key to Population Health Statewide Summit. The event was hosted by the MHA Keystone Center and MPRO, part of the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network, and discussed the complexity of social determinants of health, the impact on patient outcomes and why collaboration is essential to improvement.
Health Equity Regional Learning Session
The GLPP HIIN hosted a health equity regional learning session in March 2019 that discussed equitable care and how data-driven approaches can evoke change and address health disparities. More than 60 members participated from Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.