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Data may suggest narrowing of ethnic disparities

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A report in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that hospital may be making more progress than many had believed in reducing disparities among minorities in healthcare.

Between 2005 and 2010, disparities in care between white  and black patients fell for 13 of the 17 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services inpatient process measures. Those between white and Hispanics fell for 14 of the measures.

“But don’t get too excited,” says Hospitals & Health Networks. ”The results are not conclusive evidence that actual care is improving, says Marilyn Lynk, director of operations for Adventist HealthCare’s Center for Health Equity and Wellness. Outcomes measures would offer a better representation, and history indicates that improvement is still needed in reducing disparities found in outcomes data, Lynk says. There have been general findings that minorities are less than satisfied regarding communication with providers. It will vary widely by hospital, she says.”

”Lynk suggests that hospitals study their own data for signs of disparities in their care, a job that should be getting easier with the use of electronic health records.”


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