What Does Our Community Snapshot Say?

As highlighted in our last edition of Quality 4orum, AF4Q – South Central PA is reaching out to health care systems to alleviate race, language and ethnic disparities for patients.  With quality care top of mind and assistance from the Center for Health Care Strategies, AF4Q – South Central PA partnered with Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare Office of Medical Assistance, WellSpan Health, and Family First Health in late 2010. The purpose of the partnership was to make an initial attempt to collect race and ethnicity data to identify gaps in the care patients with diabetes received.

As part of the partnership, the three systems were charged with collecting data relating to these disparities in diabetes care. Following the collection of data, a report was developed to explain why the three health providers were chosen, what data each provided, and the lessons learned for future data collections.

For example, Family First Health was chosen because it serves a disproportionately high number of low-income individuals.  As a Federally Qualified Health Center, Family First Health is required to routinely report data on race and ethnicity. Family First Health gave access to sections of their collected data, and provided process and outcome measures for 858 patients with diabetes. The results were divided by race, showing the percentage of patients who did and did not have blood glucose level testing, and the percentage of those patients who had poor or good blood glucose control.

Through the collection of this data, AF4Q – South Central PA and the health care providers learned many things. The biggest takeaways were that each system collects the data differently, and the ability to address quality gaps is dependent on two things. The data must be self-reported by the patient, and it must be collected using standard race, ethnicity, and language categories.

To move forward, two AF4Q – South Central PA leaders, Jenny Englerth of Family First Health and Eve Gardner of Healthy York Network are taking the lead and using the report’s recommendations to begin to develop short- and long-term strategies for improvement.

AF4Q – South Central PA would like to work with every interested health provider and community leader to look for opportunities that point to actionable steps for reducing disparities; provide race, ethnicity and language data collection training to health care providers; and encourage all providers to collect and share their data so we can begin reducing the gaps.

The full report (Community Snapshot) will be accessible in early February on the AF4Q – South Central PA Web site .

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