Detroit Working To Reduce Health Care Disparities

26 Feb 2014

The Detroit Alliance has garnered positive media attention for its efforts to reduce disparities in care. Marshall Chin, MD, director of the Finding Answers initiative, was recently interviewed about health care disparities on Detroit’s WDET’s “Craig Fahle Show” radio program. Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change was launched in 2005 to seek solutions to the complicated problems of racial and ethnic health care disparities. Dr. Chin explained that affordable health care doesn’t necessarily mean quality health care, nor access to health care. Disparities in care arise from multiple factors, only one of which is access to care. “The Affordable Care Act will affect access to care, but to reduce disparities we have to go beyond access, and we also need to improve the care that we deliver to people,” said Dr. Chin. “Health care organizations and insurers are starting to collect race-ethnicity-language data. People expect that over time it’ll be used for public report cards so we can see whether these disparities exist, and that then encourages action,” added Dr. Chin. Dr. Chin discussed one program being implemented in Detroit. The Detroit Alliance is adopting a model tested in Birmingham, AL, employing powerful storytelling techniques. In Birmingham, patients who had gotten their high blood pressure under control were videotaped telling their stories of accomplishment. A DVD compilation of the stories was given to new patients with high blood pressure. Patients who received the compilation of stories had significantly better health outcomes than those who did not receive the DVD of stories. This Detroit Alliance is now replicating this intervention.

Listen to the archived radio interview here.