Initiatives at Kaiser Permanente, No. 1 on The 2011
DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Two
years later, Clinica, which primarily serves the working
poor, saw the number of people on the regimen double,
reducing the chance of heart attack and stroke by 50
percent in hundreds of patients.
Adults Ages 18–64 Without
Blacks Whites Asians American Indians Multi-racial 22.1 14.6 14.0 20.1%
This effort to bring meaningful and effective care
to at-risk populations was a patient-centered one.
Practitioners were able to engage patients and empower
them to take a role in their own health. “They really
showed us that it is achievable to get this level of therapy to communities that are typically perceived as difficult
to work with,” says Dr. Wong. “Because of the way they
adapted our program, they accomplished great results.”
The success of Kaiser Permanente’s intervention, which
won the Care Continuum Alliance’s Quality Impact Award
in 2010, shows that proper stroke prevention is often a matter of delivering the right care to the target population.
When practitioners make the effort to engage and connect with patients, they build bridges to quality care.
Kaiser Permanente’s program shows that incorporating patient values as well as demographic information into
medical outreach can improve health outcomes. Unfortunately, the struggle to reach traditionally underrepresented
groups is an uphill battle. “Part of the issue around healthcare disparities has to do with the disproportionate number
of communities of color that are uninsured,” says Dr. Wong. “There’s not actually a level playing ground.”
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Racial Divide
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Latinos and Blacks have significantly higher unin- sured rates than other groups. Latinos alone
account for one-third of the uninsured
population in the United States. But
even when these groups receive care,
it is often a worse standard of care,
according to a 2010 report published
by the Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality. Latinos receive worse
care than whites for about 60 percent
of health measures, such as cancer
screenings, while Blacks and American
Indians receive worse care than whites
in about 40 percent of measures.
Low-income people are hit the hardest,
receiving worse care than their more
affluent counterparts for roughly 80
percent of the health measures.
Although the numbers seem bleak,
two healthcare companies are leading
the charge in their efforts to address
these gaps in coverage among differ-
ent groups. By investing in education
and training, cutting-edge technology
and community outreach, Kaiser Permanente and Trinity
Health are chipping away at these barriers to equal care.
“Part of the issue around
healthcare disparities has to
do with the disproportionate
number of communities of color
that are uninsured. There’s not
actually a level playing ground.”
Dr. Winston Wong, Kaiser Permanente