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Health Equity Becomes a National Safety Goal

Care Guidance Advances Hospital Compliance with New Joint Commission Requirement Effective January 1, 2023

Last summer, the Joint Commission issued new and revised requirements that upgraded health equity as a leadership standard that is included in the national patient safety goal (NPSG 16). The new leadership standard became effective January 1, 2023.

Under NPSG 16, accredited hospitals will still be required to focus on social disparities by identifying patients’ needs and disparities and developing a strategic plan to improve health equity in their organizations.  But the new change is significant, underscoring the importance of health equity and encouraging hospitals and health systems to view disparities as a quality and safety priority.

“The underlying message of this requirement aligns with the Guideway Care mission to provide assistance that helps all patients achieve an equitable and meaningful healthcare journey,” says Craig Parker, CEO of Guideway Care.  “We are pleased to see the Joint Commission take action to further elevate the importance of health equity.  After all, access and understanding are the foundation for healthcare quality and outcomes.”

Role of Care Guidance

Guideway’ chief medical officer, Ed Partridge, M.D. who has been active in addressing disparities, social determinants and health equity for over thirty years, noted that hospitals, health systems and provider organizations can positively improve health equity and meet the new Joint Commission safety requirements with timely utilization of Guideway Care’s unique care guidance program.  This is a proven approach of employing care guides to promptly address the physical, practical, emotional, informational, cultural, spiritual and familial barriers that impact patients.

“We utilize a highly structured care guidance platform to facilitate scalable and repeatable interactions between the care guide and the patient,” says Dr. Partridge.  “We’ve proven this approach with peer-reviewed research, and we know this is critical to not only the success of the peer-to-patient relationship, but also to capture and communicate relevant data back to the clinical team, such as those data elements that support the new Joint Commission requirements.  A properly designed care guidance platform helps guide a variety of conversations and barrier resolutions completely distinct from clinical issues, and this design further facilitates the effectiveness of our non-clinically trained care guides.”

Dr. Partridge continues, “An effective guidance platform becomes critically important for capturing SDoH data and disparity-related barrier resolution.  It is a platform that facilitates operational improvement by seamlessly escalating clinically relevant information while delivering SDoH insights for each patient population. Electronic health record (EHR) systems are generally not specifically designed to facilitate the kind of resolution workflows that are needed when addressing health equity and social determinant issues.”

He points to the founding purpose of Guideway Care to resolve Social Determinants of Health and other barriers to accessing care. “The new Joint Commission standard aligns with our core mission as we strive to support clinical quality, increase access and decrease cost,” says Dr. Partridge. “We applaud this move by the Joint Commission and stand ready to assist organizations with their efforts for meeting the new requirements.”

“By elevating the existing standard to a National Patient Safety Goal, we are emphasizing the importance for healthcare organizations to ensure oversight and accountability for healthcare equity.  The new National Patient Safety Goal will help increase the focus on improving healthcare equity, a global patient safety priority.”

 — Joint Commission president and CEO Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD.Guiding the Future of Equitable Healthcare

A care guidance solution requires collaboration with like-minded partners dedicated to improving health and welfare for entire communities. As your partner, Guidewaydelivers on the promise of health equity in Value-Based Care environments.

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