With so much focus — and rightly so — on COVID-19, it’s understandable that even the best health care journalists have overlooked a critically important patient safety story, one that few I know had even heard about.
On April 5, 2021, the federal Information Blocking rule went into effect, allowing basically anyone who provides health care, “defined as “actors,” to release electronic health records in 16 categories such as summary visit notes, lab and pathology reports, and imaging studies to the patient’s health portal as soon as they are available electronically. According to the rule, that means even before the doctor has had a chance to review them, and before the provider has had a chance to explain or discuss what’s in those documents with the patient. Talk about a huge culture shift. Continue reading
Courtesy of Jallicia Jolly
When Jallicia Jolly gave birth to her first child, Rose, in February, she experienced some of the disparities in care she studies and writes about in her academic life.
Her essay published in USA Today, “I survived childbirth during three pandemics – COVID, racism, Black maternal health crisis,” places her own mistreatment at the hands of an anesthesiologist in the context of maternal health care across the country. “In looking back at my own experience giving birth to my healthy daughter, I am reminded of the stories of Black women who have received substandard care in health care systems and whose needs are deprioritized — and didn’t live to tell their own stories,” she writes. Continue reading
Matthew Ong is associate editor and an investigative reporter at The Cancer Letter, where his award-winning stories on the politics and business of cancer research have contributed to federal action and changes in public policy. Ong’s reporting has been recognized by the National Press Club, SPJ and eight other organizations.
Ong was selected as a 2021 AHCJ Health Performance Reporting Fellow to produce a series on the inequities in cancer care and its ruinous cost for many patients, particularly minorities, and how these disparities have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I spoke to Ong about the origin of the series and how he tackles such extensive, data-laden reporting and writing. Continue reading
Photo: City of Detroit via Flickr
Natural disasters, wars, and pandemics amplify the health burden among people who are poor or marginalized. They also reveal the flaws in our health care system and expose the ways those inequities can hamper our ability to respond to a crisis.
In his book, “The Political Determinants of Health” (Johns Hopkins University Press, March 2020) and a video presentation to the AMA on Prioritizing Equity, Daniel Dawes makes a convincing case that social determinants of health like housing, transportation, education and access to care are the result of political decisions. Dawes is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Continue reading
America’s Health Rankings/United Health Foundation
Disparities by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and geographical regions persist in the U.S., despite significant public health advancements, medical breakthroughs and increased access to health care. In fact, health disparities have increased in certain areas, with a profound impact on the nation’s collective health and well-being.
That is the conclusion of the recently released Inaugural America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities 2021 Report from the United Health Foundation. Using 30 measures, the report paints a comprehensive portrait of health inequities and highlights the constant and changing contours of disparities in several subpopulation groups. Continue reading