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  • Evelyn Blunt

Indiana Health Systems Join Forces to get REaL Data

Broderick Rhyant, M.D., Chief Physician Executive, Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor

Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health, and Community Health Network launched the “We Ask Because We Care” campaign last month. The campaign highlights why it is essential for healthcare organizations to gather patient information on race, ethnicity, and language (often referred to as “REaL” data) and how it helps ensure everyone receives the highest level of care.

These local participating health networks believe health disparities genuinely threaten the health and well-being of the neighborhoods they serve. They believe this is an essential collaboration that will confront many vital issues facing our community.

The ‘We Ask Because We Care’ campaign is centered around providing the highest quality personalized care by better understanding our diverse patient population and their unique needs.

Without accurate baseline data about their race, ethnicity, and language, it’s impossible to understand the specific nature and drivers of racial and ethnic disparities in patients’ experiences and care outcomes. We must measure the size of these disparity gaps and monitor our progress in closing those gaps over time. Equity reports allow the participating healthcare providers to compare quality outcomes across demographics for each service line and region.

The pandemic brought forth many challenges, including re-emphasizing health disparities in our community. The ‘We Ask Because We Care’ campaign centers on providing the highest quality of personalized care by better understanding our diverse patient population and their unique needs.

Having this information available on a broad scale will help the health systems know more about the communities they serve and the additional services they can provide to keep Indiana as healthy as possible. In addition, by working together, we can help team members and patients understand why this information is vital to improve the quality of care and move the needle on health equity.

The new patient reporting system will accompany extensive training on unconscious bias for each hospital’s workforce. The participating hospitals are also taking proactive measures to reevaluate and advance hiring policies, salaries, retention efforts, and procurement policies to reflect the diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The promotional efforts around this campaign include a radio spot that will run in English and Spanish on Central Indiana radio stations and other informative materials available in physician offices, outpatient clinics, and surgery centers. In addition, printed information will be provided to Registrars to help patients request interpretation services in more than two dozen languages.

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