Disparities as Culturally Appropriate Care
- Quality and reducing disparities
go hand in hand. For example, there is no way to do disease management
without addressing culture and language.
- As one firm noted, disparities
reduction and quality work are integrally intertwined. The better one knows
one's members, the better one can serve them. Hence, while in the past a firm
may have assumed "a rising tide raises all boats," there is growing
recognition that providers need to be more sensitive to racial and ethnic
issues if they are to address the needs of their members.
- Quality can be measured in many
ways. Disparities are just another way of looking at quality. There is no
single lens that is best. Another firm expressed what seems to be the same
view by noting that any market has many segments that must be
understood—programs must be tailored to minorities, occupational groups,
military members, and others with specific needs.
A Focus on the Distribution (Versus the Mean) in Quality
- Working on disparities is an important
way to improve overall HEDIS performance, complementing overall improvements
with targeted improvements on subgroups of the enrollment where the system
currently performed less well; this has the potential to raise the overall
scores of the organization and its position as a quality leader.
- Disparities are part of overall
quality improvement. The issue is not so much reducing disparities as
raising overall quality, which in turn means improving care where it is