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IHI, AMA launch national coalition targeting health equity

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement and American Medical Association are launching a coalition to bring together hundreds of health systems, companies and organizations with the goal of developing a cohesive approach to more equitable patient care and remove areas of inequity and bias. 

The Rise to Health coalition, created in partnership with groups like the American Hospital Association and Race Forward, a network focused on striving toward racial equity, also will include individual providers, insurance companies, professional societies and pharmaceutical, research and biotech organizations to share solutions and take collective action, the institute announced Tuesday.

By using quality improvement methods and safety tools to solve issues of equity, the healthcare industry can alleviate the moral injury and burnout that clinicians experience as a result of barriers preventing them from providing equitable care, said Kedar Mate, the institute’s president and CEO, at the group’s annual forum in Orlando. 

In being able to improve the care and treatment of patients, healthcare workers feel less powerless and are able to find more joy in the work they do, he said. 

Main areas of focus for coalition members will include: dedicating institutional resources to prioritize equity; understanding how their organization has participated in a local history of inequity or discriminatory practices; creating data sets to identify the largest areas of clinical inequity; taking specific action to reduce inequities; and partnering with community groups to achieve their equity goals. 

The levers various members use to create change will vary depending on the type of organization they are. For instance, a pharmaceutical company could develop programs to make drugs more affordable, Mate said. 

Each coalition member will have access to guidance and tools from the AMA and the institute to help them take evidence-based actions that are specific to their organization. 

Seventy health systems have joined the coalition, Mate said.

“The biggest thing that we’re going to be doing is counting the number of institutions that have adopted the framework that we’re describing,” he told reporters. “One of the key requirements of their participation is demonstrating actions that they’ve taken to reduce a particular inequity in their environment.”

The institute is partnering with a number of other groups for the coalition, including the National Association of Community Health Centers, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies. 

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