WHA Fosters Advancement of Health Equity Initiatives in Wisconsin’s Hospitals

September 17, 2019

Based on a state summary report of the Health Equity Organizational Assessments (HEOA) completed by Wisconsin hospitals in January 2019, a majority responded they lack a standardized process for verifying accuracy and completeness of Race, Ethnicity, and Language (REaL); Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity (SO/GI); and Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) data. The summary also indicated a need for improved communication of identified gaps in disparities to improve organization and community-wide awareness, promote understanding of patient population needs, and inform hospital leadership of potential differences in patient outcomes.

To address the survey findings, WHA teamed with Wisconsin Health Literacy to customize a two-day Health Equity and Literacy Workshop held September 11-12. This Great Lakes Partnership for Patients (GLPP HIIN) sponsored event was filled with opportunities for group participation, interaction, and dialogue to learn about the many social determinants of health and their impact in Wisconsin. The workshop consisted of interactive exercises that generated rich discussions that were eye-opening and thoughtprovoking, allowing participants to become more aware of issues related to diversity and inclusion at their organizations.

The learning format was actionable, allowing participants time to contemplate and plan next steps to implement at their organization, including how and when to train and collect REaL and SO/GI data. Participant feedback included an appreciation for the interactive format; the valuable information and tools shared for health literacy; the passion, enthusiasm, knowledge and experience exhibited by the facilities; and the opportunity to learn perspectives of all participants in an open and safe learning  environment.

Stan Hudson, Wisconsin Health Literacy Director, shared his perspective over the two-day event. “I always enjoy these sessions focused on meeting patients, families, and caregivers where they are. As a facilitrainer I can bring knowledge about the best practices  or addressing health literacy and health equity, but it is learning about the unique opportunities and challenges of hospitals across Wisconsin that we can identify the most promising solutions. They are vital conversations as we move to value-based care.”

To learn more about how WHA can support your improvement efforts on Health Equity and Literacy, contact Jill Lindwall.

This story originally appeared in the September 17, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter