Reduce Health Disparities and Drive Health Equity with Care Management

Health disparities exposed by the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. have everyone talking about the need—and the opportunity—to build a better healthcare delivery system for patients of all races, ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic strata. However, not everyone agrees how or even where to start that process.

Successful care management programs can help improve the health of the communities your organization serves and safeguard your organization’s fiscal health.

A great place to start is with more effective care management – managing a patient’s health care to enable them to achieve their best health possible. The challenges to effective care management are plentiful. A recent proposal from the National Quality Forum (NQF) dubbed “The Care We Need” highlights those challenges and offers a five-part plan to overcome them in order to create a better healthcare delivery system for all patients.

five-part plan to create a better healthcare delivery system
as developed by an NQF task force composed of 100 industry leaders
Ensuring appropriate, safe, accessible care
Implementing seamless flow of reliable data
Paying for person-centered care and healthy communities
Supporting activated consumers
Achieving actionable transparency

The proposal details how those five objectives can be achieved by 2030 by identifying ten “actionable opportunities to drive change”. They are divided into two categories: foundational and accelerators.

For example, the NQF proposal calls for the following three foundational actions:

  • Implementing a single-person identifier to consistently and accurately match people to health records across all care settings
  • Creating actionable intelligence for consumers by increasing requirements to better educate and engage people in healthcare decisions
  • Standardizing quality data to enable reliable improvement and outcomes analysis

Those three actionable opportunities from the NQF align with the three essential elements of effective care management that were identified in a previous article.

Three essential components of effective care management:

Identify icon

Recognizing patients who will benefit from a case manager to help them navigate their care

Activate icon

Encouraging patients to become active participants in their own care – this often requires patient education and empowerment

Measure icon

Tracking patient outcomes and measuring progress on goals is essential for short-, medium- and long-term success

What the NQF recommends in its blueprint for a better healthcare system for all by 2030 can power each of the three components of effective care management for all patients:

  • A single patient identifier can help identify patients who need assistance at any point along their continuum of care
  • Integrate actionable intelligence into patient education campaigns to target and energize specific subsets of patient population
  • Standardize quality data to measure and improve the performance of care management activities


If your hospital or health system wants to help reduce health disparities that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and drive health equity in the healthcare system, start with re-imagining care management. Successful care management programs can help improve the health of the communities your organization serves and safeguard your organization’s fiscal health. In the wake of COVID-19, now is the time for healthcare organizations to truly move the needle on the social determinants of health.

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