Sentinel Event Alert 64: Addressing health care disparities by improving quality and safety
The Joint Commission considers addressing health care disparities a quality and patient safety imperative, as well as a moral and ethical duty. Our enterprise's mission to continuously improve health care commits us to finding solutions to these inequities.
"Disparities in health care is one of the most studied and researched problems; there are overwhelming evidence and persistence of gaps in virtually all areas of health care," said Dr. Ana McKee, executive vice president, chief medical officer and chief diversity and inclusion officer, The Joint Commission. "This is a problem that is a major patient safety issue; it provides and introduces as much risk of harm as a central line infection or a fall. We encourage all organizations to address disparities as a patient safety concern."
This Sentinel Event Alert summarizes strategies for health care and human services organizations in all settings as they begin to address health care disparities; it also provides examples of successful initiatives for organizations that are well on their way. This alert can guide organizations as they address disparities as a central part of performance and patient safety improvement and hardwire the pursuit of health equity into their strategic planning.