A Quality Improvement Framework for Equity in Cardiovascular Care: Results of a National Collaborative

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Abstract

Disparities in the quality of cardiovascular care provided to minorities have been well documented, but less is known about the use of quality improvement methods to eliminate these disparities. Measurement is also often impeded by a lack of reliable patient demographic data. The objective of this study was to assess the ability of hospitals with large minority populations to measure and improve the care rendered to Black and Hispanic patients. The Expecting Success: Excellence in Cardiac Care project utilized the standardized collection of self-reported patient race, ethnicity, and language data to generate stratified performance measures for cardiac care coupled with evidence-based practice tools in a national competitively selected sample of 10 hospitals with high cardiac volumes and largely minority patient populations. Main outcomes included changes in nationally recognized measures of acute myocardial infarction and heart failure quality of care and 2 composite measures, stratified by patient demographic characteristics. Quality improved significantly at 7 of the 10 hospitals as gauged by composite measures (p < .05), and improvements exceeded those observed nationally for all hospitals. Three of 10 hospitals found racial or ethnic disparities which were eliminated in the course of the project. Clinicians and institutions were able to join the standardized collection of self-reported patient demographic data to evidence-based measures and quality improvement tools to improve the care of minorities and eliminate disparities in care. This framework may be replicable to ensure equity in other clinical areas.

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