Brown Researcher: Hospital Quality Improvements Reduce Disparities

Dec 28, 2014

A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s the finding of a Brown University researcher who investigated whether hospital quality improvements brought better care for minority patients as well as white.

Brown University professor Amal Trivedi wanted to know if improved standards at hospitals have helped all patients equally.  Medicare asked hospitals to start reporting certain quality measures in 2005. Trivedi said that at that time, there were significant disparities between the care whites and minorities got at hospitals around the country.

“We know that care has gotten better over time, on the measures that are publicly reported," Trivedi said. "But we really haven’t had comprehensive data on whether care has become more equal over time. And that’s exactly what we found.”

Trivedi found that disparities in care between minorities and whites narrowed or disappeared after five years at most hospitals. He looked at three measures of care, including what health care providers do for patients who come to the hospital with a heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia. 

Trivedi's research appears in the December 11, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.