The American Medical Association, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Joint Commission are joining forces on a pilot program to help health systems integrate equity into care delivery, the groups said Thursday.
The year-long mentorship and networking initiative, called Advancing Equity through Quality and Safety Peer Network, is meant to improve health outcomes for marginalized patient populations and work toward racial justice for staff and surrounding communities. Experts will work with health systems to remove social and structural barriers to patient-centered care.
The first cohort will include Atlantic Medical Group, Ochsner Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.
"For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed systemic inequities in the quality and safety of the patient care experience—including gaps in interpretation services, telemedicine access, and crisis standards of care," AMA President Dr. Gerald Harmon said in a news release.
Patients of color experience significantly higher rates of hospital-acquired infections and related mortalities than non-Latino white patients, according to a 2021 study by Current Infectious Disease Reports.
Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, both located in Boston, created a framework for the program that will include structural analyses of racism, individual and group learning opportunities with a panel of experts.
Providers will participate in calls discussing racial justice and determinants of health, collaborative problem-solving with other health systems. The pilot also includes asynchronous education and action periods, where teams actively apply strategies and best practices to their daily operations.
As part of the AMA's three-year strategic plan to advance health equity, the organization hopes to develop a pipeline of leaders able to redesign healthcare systems to be more equitable and reliable in supporting anti-racist structures.
"Every patient deserves the right to safe, equitable healthcare," Dr. Jonathan Perlin, president and CEO of the Joint Commission said in a news release. "All healthcare organizations have a responsibility to identify and address the disparities that their unique patient populations face."