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Report: Novel Hospital Initiatives to Target Cardiovascular Disease Disparities

December 12, 2023

WASHINGTON — By targeting social determinants of health and leveraging remote patient monitoring and electronic health records, three essential hospitals have reduced racial disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes, a new report shows.

CVD is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, and existing disparities in care, including barriers to accessing COVID-19 treatment, contribute to higher rates of heart disease in populations facing financial hardships, as well as structural and historical racism.

With support from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, Essential Hospitals Institute, the research arm of America’s Essential Hospitals, awarded three association members 12 months of grant funding for interventions to reduce racial disparities in CVD outcomes. In a new report, Essential Hospital Innovations to Reduce Disparities in Cardiovascular Care, the Institute details the hospitals’ experiences and findings:

  • Grady Health System, in Atlanta, sought to reduce readmission rates and improve access to care for heart failure patients who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. The program used community health workers and long-standing community partnerships to improve care coordination, along with appropriate use of outpatient clinics and the emergency department. This intervention increased awareness and understanding of patients’ needs among inpatient and outpatient medical teams.
  • Harris Health System’s Center for Innovation, in Houston, developed a remote monitoring system to increase hypertension literacy and improve hypertension management in patients with stage 2 hypertension. The health system saw an increase in patient engagement and medication adherence and an improvement in patient experience.
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, in San Francisco, integrated a Health Failure Care Pathway into its electronic health record, incorporating social determinants of health into the care delivery process for physicians treating inpatients with a heart failure diagnosis. This intervention led to a more than 10 percent drop in 30-day readmission rates, a reduction in mortality rate, and a decrease in racial disparities in readmissions.

“It’s clear that, when provided with needed support, essential hospitals can make significant gains in reducing disparities through meaningful change within their health systems,” says Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, MSc, Institute director and vice president of innovation for America’s Essential Hospitals. “We look forward to witnessing the continued expansion of these valuable programs and their impact on the communities they serve.”

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value.

About Essential Hospitals Institute
Essential Hospitals Institute is the research, education, dissemination, and leadership development arm of America’s Essential Hospitals. The Institute supports the nation’s essential hospitals as they provide high-quality, equitable, and affordable care to their communities. Working with members of America’s Essential Hospitals, we identify promising practices from the field, conduct research, disseminate innovative strategies, and help our members improve their organizational performance. We do all of this with an eye toward improving individual and population health, especially for vulnerable people.

Carl Graziano

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