The commitment and work by America’s Essential Hospitals and its members to improve equity is nothing new.

Last week, the Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN) hosted its third webinar as part of its Health Equity Series. The webinar featured Dr. Alexander Green, who spoke on using TeamSTEPPS communication training to improve patient safety for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP).

As the EHEN furthers the journey to equity, I have the opportunity to learn about disparities related to hospital-acquired conditions. One such disparity I recently learned about: race-specific comorbidities associated with central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI).

A study by Studnicki et al. distinguished itself from others because it identified patient comorbidities and characteristics associated with the likelihood of a CLABSI for blacks and whites separately, as opposed to using one model that controls for race.

The findings showed different risk factors for whites and blacks. Renal failure, perivascular disease, Medicaid insurance, and younger age were all risk factors specific to black patients. For whites, their specific risk factors included diabetes with chronic complications, chronic blood loss anemia, older age, and peptic ulcer/bleeding.

There is not enough evidence in this study to suggest changing clinical practices for patients with central-lines, but the findings are interesting to consider if a hospital’s CLABSI rates vary substantially between blacks and whites.

Do you think there might come a time when clinical practices will change based on these kinds of findings? I certainly look forward to learning more about how disparities impact patient safety, with an eye toward furthering the journey to equitable health care.