Advancing Health Equity2022-01-07T15:20:10-05:00

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on the disparities in access and outcomes that exist in our healthcare system for patients from historically underserved communities. The pandemic has been devastating for all communities, but it has hit communities of color especially hard. Black patients have been three times as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and two times as likely to die in comparison to their white counterparts. Health disparities of this magnitude are not new. Researchers have long been aware of health disparities affecting underserved communities for many noncommunicable diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. But the pandemic has brought these problems into mainstream consciousness.

When MHQP’s Board of Directors met in June 2020 to discuss the organization’s strategic direction, the Board overwhelmingly endorsed making the advancement of health equity one of MHQP’s strategic imperatives. Soon thereafter, we formed a Health Equity, Anti-Racism Workgroup to identify directions for MHQP to systematically move towards health equity and justice, and to eradicate inequities in health outcomes and experiences. The Workgroup has recommended two priority areas for MHQP:

  1. Improve our understanding of how best to capture Race, Ethnicity, Language and Disability (RELD) data, with a particular focus on understanding patients experiences with being asked about RELD to better understand barriers to data collection; and
  2. Improve our understanding of how we can advance equity and access of telehealth

MHQP is uniquely positioned to help advance all aspects of the health equity agenda depicted above. We have a long history in measurement and evaluation, convening stakeholder groups, raising the patient perspective, and creating improvement tools and clinical guidelines. While we understand that this issue is deeply-rooted in longstanding and systemic biases, we are determined to advance health equity to ensure that everyone has the chance to be as healthy as possible.

Here is a list of the posts on this site related to MHQP’s health equity activities:

MHQP Confirms Significant Drop-Off in Key Preventive Care Measures During the Pandemic

(May 2022) Alarming declines in cancer screening procedures, routine tests for patients with diabetes, and childhood immunizations recorded 

Data released today by MHQP confirm what many providers and policymakers feared – that preventive care declined during the pandemic, especially for procedures that required patients to visit a clinical setting in person.

See a

Backlash Must Fuel Renewed Commitment to Health Equity

By Barbra G. Rabson

(February 2022) 

Since the summer of 2020, when the murder of George Floyd and the COVID pandemic spawned a reawakening about racial injustice in this country, I have been impressed and proud of the commitment to health equity at so many levels in the Massachusetts healthcare system. Company CEOs,

We Need Better Data to Tackle Health Disparities, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Study Finds

~MHQP Serves as Critical Source of Information for this Important Report~

(January 2022)

To truly advance its equity goals, Massachusetts must take a leadership role in collecting and analyzing racial and ethnic health disparities, a new Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) report suggests. The report underlines how Massachusetts must improve data collection and reporting requirements across health agencies to ensure

Patients Really Like Telehealth. Let’s Resolve to Make It Work.

By Barbra G. Rabson

(January 2022) 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I penned a post I called “Now Is the Time to Get Telehealth Right” in which I suggested that something good might emerge from what I called our “grand telehealth experiment.” Well, my friends, the pandemic may not be over

It’s Time We Started Collecting Data on People with Disabilities

By Barbra G. Rabson

(December 2021)

As a measurement organization, MHQP has a long track record for reporting comparative performance information to drive improvements in Massachusetts healthcare. We are now focused on reporting performance on health equity and are working to generate the data to enable us to do so. MHQP and our

The Pain Inequities Project
(2021)


Overview:

This important initiative is investigating the disparities that Black women experience when they seek diagnosis and management of chronic pain, and based on these findings, will begin to identify strategies to address these important issues. In the first phase of our work, MHQP conducted open-ended interviews with adult patients who have experienced chronic (> 6 months) pain and

Supporting UMass Memorial’s Efforts to Reduce Race/Ethnicity Disparities in Child Well-Visits
(2021)


Overview:

MHQP was contracted by UMass Memorial Healthcare to conduct interviews with patients and their families in both English and Spanish to better understand barriers and race/ethnicity disparities associated with child well-visits in its network. The findings from these interviews, summarized in MHQP’s report, will be used to inform performance improvement initiatives as part of a network-wide quality improvement

Advancing Understanding of Telehealth Inequities Through HPHCI’s WIFI Study
(2021 - 2022)


Overview:

As part of a study conducted in partnership with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute (HPHCI), MHQP interviewed patients, providers and community leaders to better understand potential socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic inequities in telehealth usage in Massachusetts since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interviews explored topics such as insurance coverage of telehealth, access to telehealth, and

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