Hospitals and health systems often name improving health care as one of their top goals. Lawrence Moss, CEO of Nemours Children’s Health, says it’s important for hospitals to look at their own patient data to see if certain groups have worse outcomes.
In an interview with Chief Healthcare Executive®Moss shares his own thoughts on how hospitals can make progress toward health equity.
“It’s starting to examine, receive and act on their own data,” Moss said.
Hospitals can look at certain key metrics and analyze outcomes by racial groups, he said. For starters, health systems can look at infection rate data or asthma readmission rates stratified by rates, or other important issues in their communities. Other health systems don’t measure data that way, he said.
“So the first thing that any system can do at relatively low cost, and I want to say no cost, but at relatively low cost, is to decide to look at their own data,” said Moss. “And once that data sees the light of day, people can’t help but do something about it.”
Hospitals and health systems, especially those with more modest resources, don’t need to try and solve every problem area immediately, Moss said. Hospitals can look at a specific area to focus on and try to improve.
“There is a huge halo effect on almost any metric you choose, because changing that metric requires a culture change that has a halo effect of positive influence throughout the entire system of health,” Moss said.
“For me, I don’t care who you choose,” he added. “Just get started. Measure it, report it, be transparent about it with your staff. And I would argue, be transparent about it with the public and your community. And change will happen. “
Nemours is focused on closing the disparities that affect disadvantaged groups.
In 2022, Nemours launched the Ginsburg Institute for Health Equity at Nemours Children’s Health. Philanthropist Alan H. Ginsburg and the Ginsburg Family Foundation donated $25 million to Nemours to launch the foundation. He said the institute wants to explore ways to help hospitals improve the health of their communities.
Moss spoke passionately about the institute and its potential to provide insights into expanding care for all. The institute plans to use the expertise of pediatric specialists, health services researchers, environmental health experts and data scientists.
“We hope that the institute will help those systems and help them determine the best way with limited resources to address health equity issues,” Moss said.
Moss is on a campaign to promote greater investment in children’s health, saying that this is the best long-term strategy for improving public health. He emphasized the need to focus on addressing the social determinants of health, such as food insecurity and education, to give children better opportunities to grow into healthy adults.
“It’s clearly proven fact, a child who eats three healthy meals a day does better in school, is more likely to graduate from high school, is more likely to graduate from college and produces more economic productivity over a lifetime than a child. who wouldn’t,” he said.
But he said it’s impossible to talk about improving children’s health without addressing disparities in care and outcomes among minority groups and other underserved communities.
“There is no health without health equity,” Moss said. “Health inequity is widespread and a significant part of the core of poor health in our country. We cannot ignore it.”