Tracking racial data can illuminate disparities

September 27, 2017

Hospitals are routinely collecting information about patient race, but are they using it and does it matter? Stratifying outcomes by patient race, ethnicity, age or gender can provide valuable insights into your hospital’s culture and may lead to surprising findings.

One hospital, which had nearly 100 percent compliance with the sepsis three-hour bundle, found when they started to stratify sepsis mortality by race, that African American patients were often receiving their first antibiotic 18 minutes later. Another study found that women of all races are also more likely to receive first antibiotics later than men of all races.

Another health system decided to stratify immunization rates by race. They were very surprised to find that a high percentage of patients with overdue vaccinations were African American. By knowing this, quality leaders were able to work with the community to understand barriers and improve immunization rates.

It may seem daunting to eliminate disparities in health, but hospitals can start by stratifying outcomes by race, ethnicity, age or gender for readmissions, sepsis mortality, pressure injury or venous thromboembolism. (Lisa Segerstrom)


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