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How Health Equity Impacts Patient Care

Day one of HAP’s Patient Safety and Quality Symposium addresses health equity, COVID-19, and the latest regulatory updates

September 09, 2021

During the first day of HAP’s virtual Patient Safety and Quality Symposium, health care leaders from Pennsylvania and across the nation discussed the ways COVID-19 has transformed care, health equity, and the latest state and federal regulatory updates.

Thursday’s sessions began with a powerful look at the impact of implicit bias in patient care from Ronald Wyatt, MD, MHA, vice president and patient safety officer, MCIC Vermont, LLC.

Every hospital needs to make a plan to prioritize health equity, Wyatt said.

“There is no patient safety, there is no health care quality, unless we work on health equity and health inequity,” Wyatt said.

Among the key topics from the symposium’s first day:

  • Health equity improves patient quality and safety:  Implicit biases and subconscious behaviors influence how we interact with patients. Listening to a patient’s individual needs can help prevent stereotyping and other negative judgments that lead to poor outcomes
  • Putting it into practice:  Hospital staff need to review and identify areas where bias may have influenced care. The care team at Brigham Health outlined how it reviews care through an equity lens and the lessons it has learned along the way
  • The ‘new normal’:  The pandemic has required Pennsylvania’s hospitals to adjust quickly to a world that’s constantly changing. Hospital leaders have identified new strategies to communicate changes with staff, patients, and their communities about what they can expect when they come to the hospital
  • Regulatory Update:  The Joint Commission has adjusted its survey process to accommodate COVID-19 public health precautions, and health care organizations are facing unique challenges to balance their COVID-19 response within their larger operations. In Pennsylvania, officials with the Department of Health expect to provide more information about the COVID-19 flexibilities the state has indicated are set to expire on September 30

HAP’s virtual Patient Safety and Quality Symposium concludes tomorrow with a look at how health care organizations can learn from their mistakes, lessons in emergency management from the pandemic, and other critical sessions about quality, safety, and family engagement.

Learn more about this year’s Patient Safety and Quality Symposium online.