African Americans have an 8 percent higher mortality rate than Caucasians 30 days after cardiac surgery – and a 25 percent higher mortality rate one year later. This disparity in mortality rates between white and black patients has grown wider over the past several years.
Robert Dunton, MD, medical director at Bon Secours Maryview, developed clinical practices to reduce these health disparities.
“Some believe these health disparities are due to disadvantages, but this is not the case,” Dr. Dunton said. “Reports show that the same health disparities exist even when minority patients have the same access to care. ”
Dr. Dunton developed universal readmission precautions, coordinated care with post-operative checklists, as well as culturally-relevant education programs. By taking these measures, Bon Secours Maryview reduced its 30-day readmission rate by 6 percent, and achieved a mortality rate 50 to 60 percent lower than the national average for African-American patients.
“Hospitals have an ethical duty to treat patients equally,” said Dr. Dunton.
“We are continuing to understand why minorities have different health care outcomes, and we’re seeing to it that people receive the highest quality care, no matter their ethnicity. ”