Helping patients achieve optimal health

HealthPartners Institute supports equitable care

  • An elderly Somali patient with diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart failure visits her doctor before she travels to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Because Hajj is strenuous, participation presents health risks; however, she is passionate about attending.
  • During a physical, a woman reveals that she has had depression and anxiety since childhood. After months of behavioral therapy, she shares that her conditions are linked to confusion about gender identity.
  • A Latino man is at a clinic to discuss abdominal pain. He wishes to speak in Spanish. He wants his daughter to be his interpreter. The daughter is willing, and no bilingual staff members are available to talk with him. Is it okay for her to interpret?

These scenarios describe health interactions that are complicated due to language preferences, cultural values and gender confusion. Equitable care describes a state in which every person can achieve their highest possible level of health, which requires humility, awareness, education and resources.

Education tools to support equitable care

HealthPartners’ equitable care strategy focuses on reducing disparities, supporting language preferences, understanding cultural humility and engaging patients, members and the community. The Institute’s education area supports development of tools and education programs for care teams.

Culture Roots is a newsletter produced by the Institute’s clinical quality and patient education teams. It presents scenarios like those above, provides background on related concepts and suggests action to remove the barriers to equitable care. The newsletter is sent to equitable care champions, clinicians, administrators and leaders and is available to all HealthPartners employees.

Equitable care champions raise awareness among staff and clinicians about disparities in care and patient experience. The Institute ensures that champions have the training and expertise to be resources for others. A newsletter on equitable care focus areas helps champions share best practices. More tools, such as a web series, are planned for 2017.