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The Importance of Equity in Health Care

We share a common goal: to make high-quality health care available for everyone. Yet even today, economic, social and other factors create barriers that prevent access.

Maternal mortality rate for Black women is 4x higher than that for non-Hispanic White women


Hispanic women are 20 percent more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic White women


Asian Americans are eight times more likely to die from hepatitis B than non-Hispanic Whites


Diabetes rates are more than 30 percent higher among Native Americans and Latinos than among Whites

People often view health care equity through the lens of social injustice, but it’s first and foremost a quality-of-care problem. That’s why we need to approach it the same way we approach other patient safety priorities — like medication errors and health care-acquired infections, for example. This means understanding the root causes of health care equity issues and addressing them with targeted interventions.

After all, every person deserves an opportunity to live their best — and healthiest — life.

So, how can Joint Commission Resources (JCR) help you improve health care equity at your organization? By doing what we do best. We encourage health care providers to raise the bar for the populations they serve. We help you meet standards and make necessary improvements.

Our expert services and solutions can help you:

Enable Your Team

We provide the tools you need to promote equity.

Empower Your Team

Our rigorous standards help you put patients at the heart of everything you do.

Elevate Community Care

Underserved communities can rise to new levels because of your commitment to quality.

The Joint Commission has integrated health care equity standards into its hospital, ambulatory and behavioral health care accreditation programs. These standards are among the first of their kind and create a consistent national baseline related to equitable delivery of health care. A new certification program will also become available.

Our health care equity expert consultants can help your organization both meet these new standards and go beyond them to improve care delivery.*

The accreditation standards focus on existing areas known to be essential to advancing equity, including data collection, leadership and governance, and individual rights and responsibilities. Examples include:

  • Changes to leadership requirements
  • Records requirements when collecting patient race and ethnicity information
  • Rights and responsibilities requirements prohibiting discrimination

*The use of Joint Commission Resources consultative technical or advisory services is not necessary to obtain a Joint Commission Accreditation award, nor does it influence the granting of such awards.

We understand that providing robust education resources are critical to achieving our mission and vision. That's why we’re committed to bringing you education resources focused on health care equity.

We’ve started integrating health care equity into our well-established selection of conferences, webinars, online trainings and Digital Learning Center. We aim to bring together providers and the greater health care community in a future solutions roundtable to exchange ideas and create a collaborative learning environment that accelerates action.

Not finding what you need, or not sure what services will help with your most challenging needs? Our experts can create a custom education program just for your organization.

We can help you understand CMS and Joint Commission positions on health care equity, review how Joint Commission health care equity standards are evaluated, do a gap analysis on your current health care equity program and more.

Our collection of evidence-based books, manuals and digital subscriptions helps organizations stay current on important health, quality and safety topics — including health care equity.

We remain steadfast in creating rich resources that draw attention to the problem, research that measures the impact of our collective efforts and resources that offer solutions to empower organizations across the health care continuum.

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Practical checklists and toolkits
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Trusted preparation and readiness resources 
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Timely guidance on safety, quality improvement and more

Toward Health Care Equity

Toward Health Care Equity: Sensitive Care for a Diverse Patient Population

The first step toward providing equitable health care is to develop cultural sensitivity, or the ability to deliver culturally relevant care. This guide gives staff some basic knowledge about the ways patients differ--race, ethnicity, country of origin, culture, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more--and how diversity affects their health care experience. Based on the Doody’s 5-star bestseller from JCR, Cultural and Religious Sensitivity: A Pocket Guide for Health Care Professionals. Available as a digital site license so that everyone in your health care facility can have access to this must-have content.