Working Towards Health Equity
Most health experts agree that the current global pandemic is temporary.
Whether through herd immunity, the development of a vaccine or the establishment of effective treatments, the virus and its devastating effects will eventually come to an end. Unfortunately, the health disparities which have come to light as a result of the COVID-19 crisis will remain.
As increasing amounts of data become available, the full extent of these health disparities will be revealed. The truth is, however, that this crisis has not necessarily created any new disparities – it has simply exacerbated the underlying condition of the US healthcare system.
These health disparities inevitably impact the patient experience, which has become a point of emphasis in recent years for all healthcare organizations. Patient experience officer positions have been created, consultants have been hired, data collection surrounding the patient experience has escalated and reimbursement has increasingly relied on patient satisfaction scores.
A hospital may provide safe, quality care for some of its patients, but if it consistently fails to meet the long-term health needs of its most vulnerable patients then change is needed.
The purpose of this report is to better understand those health disparities and explore how the existing healthcare system often fails to “bridge the gap” to meet the needs of more vulnerable communities.