Addressing disparities in healthcare

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:

163153911: Ethn Dis. 2005 Autumn;15(4 Suppl 5):S5-124-7.

The Community Physicians' Network (CPN): an academic-community partnership to eliminate healthcare disparities.

Ofili E, Igho-Pemu P, Lapu-Bula R, Quarshie A, Obialo C, Thomas C, Onwanyi A, Oduwole A, Ojutalayo F, Johnson P, Murphy F, Mayberry R, Strayhorn G.

Clinical Research Center, Department of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA.

INTRODUCTION: Disparities in health care are maintained by three primary factors: 1) patient factors which include multiple risk factors and comorbidities; 2) healthcare practitioner factors comprising inconsistent application of practice guidelines due to a limited database of clinical trials of effective therapies in African Americans and other underrepresented minorities; and 3) barriers in the healthcare delivery system resulting in poor access to care. The Morehouse School of Medicine Community Physicians' Network (CPN) was established to address disparities in health care by focusing on provider-specific strategies.

OBJECTIVES: To: 1) use disease-specific registries to identify treatment gaps and facilitate quality improvement processes among CPN practices; 2) develop practice-specific and guideline-based educational messages to promote quality care; 3) engage and train CPN-physicians for participation in approved NIH, other government, and industry-supported clinical protocols; and 4) develop a data repository of all CPN-sponsored clinical trials that include significant numbers of African Americans and other underrepresented minorities.

METHODS: The disease-specific outpatient registries will have the following features: 1) data structures and data elements will use standard database codes and a data dictionary; 2) HIPPA-compliant data abstraction and data transfer tool; 3) baseline chart review to establish practice patterns and provide practice-specific feedback; 4) annual update of registry; 5) data registry and repository maintained on Morehouse School of Medicine's secure servers; 6) registry publications will include only aggregate data, without identification of contributing practices; 7) an electronic medical records platform will be encouraged as the ultimate data management tool for CPN practices. In addition, up to three continuing medical education (CME) programs each year will feature national speakers and promote evidence-based practice guidelines.

RESULTS: Eighty-five primary care and subspecialty practices are actively enrolled in CPN with a total of 385,000 annual outpatient visits. The makeup of insurance status is: HMO/PPO (45%); Medicare only (19%); Medicare HMO (11%); Medicare plus (8%); Medicaid (6%); Uninsured (11%).

CONCLUSIONS: The Community Physicians' Network will address specific gaps in the health care of African-American and other minority patients by promoting quality care among its members and by facilitating participation in approved clinical trial protocols. The unique academic community partnership is consistent with the NIH roadmap goal of eliminating healthcare disparities.

PMID: 16315391 [PubMed - in process]

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