Closing the racial care gap--ideas in play


While the problem of racial disparity in healthcare treatment is still huge (see story #5, below), it's interesting to note there's been several pieces of news lately that hint at some solutions. For example:

* A study by the Commonwealth Fund recently concluded that when minority patients have a "medical home," i.e. get organized care from a single, identified provider, they tend to get better care overall.

* In an effort to get more representative results from their trials, pharmas are working harder to recruit minority physicians for clinical trials, who are in turn more likely to find minority test subjects.

* Recent calls for Medicare to address some gaping racial care disparities hint at the obvious--that an organization with CMS's clout is in a better position than most to force care pattern and cultural changes where needed.

None of these are terribly revolutionary ideas, but sometimes, simply leveraging the obvious can get a lot done. 

Let's hope that in the next year or two, healthcare leaders find ways to run with some of these emerging ideas. After all, the idea of ethnic minorities getting unequal care doesn't sit well with anyone--it's just a matter of doing the footwork. - Anne

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