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Yale New Haven Health launches “We Ask Because We Care” campaign to reduce and eliminate healthcare disparities

Monday, November 27, 2023

New Haven, CT (Nov. 27, 2023) – Yale New Haven Health System’s (YNHHS) Office of Health Equity & Community Impact (OHECI) has launched the “We Ask Because We Care” campaign. This campaign supports the continued collection of accurate patient demographic data and examines awareness of how this data is critical to efforts to eliminate healthcare disparities.

“In order for us to unpack the long-lasting disparities that we see in our country, it’s very important for us as a healthcare system to get to know our patients,” said Lou Hart, MD, medical director, Health Equity for YNHHS and assistant professor, pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine. “When it comes to disparities in terms of who has access to care, what type of care are they receiving inside the healthcare system and then what are their long-term health outcomes, without having this information on who our patents really are, we can’t determine if people are being treated differently or some patient groups are having worse outcomes from others”.

Through a phased approach to the campaign, YNHHS will continue inviting patients to share their race, ethnicity, ethnic background, preferred language, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability identity. Patients do not have to answer these questions, but information from those who do will be entered into updated fields in their legally protected Epic electronic medical record.

The campaign’s intent is to understand the personal characteristics that make each individual patient unique. In phase 1, the campaign will focus on increasing the accurate self-reporting of race, ethnicity, ethnic background, and preferred language. This will be of great importance as the health system ensures every patient is receiving the best care, every time. All patient information is safe-guarded and placed into the patient’s legally protected medical record adhering to national standards of strict confidentiality and privacy.

The Office of Health Equity & Community Impact, working with the departments of Care Signature and Quality and Safety, will analyze the de-identified patient information to measure equity in patient access; use of healthcare services; transitions from one care setting to another; patient experience; and quality and safety clinical outcomes.

“Our hope is at the end of the day our patients look back and say Yale New Haven Health drives human-centered care, patient-centered care, and that our patients feel they were listened to and believe that we have their best interests at heart,” said Dr. Hart.

Yale New Haven Health’s “We Ask Because We Care”’ campaign is supported in part by a generous grant from The Connecticut Health Foundation. Dedicated to achieving health equity, the Foundation focuses on assuring that all Connecticut residents have access to affordable and high-quality health care.

Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS), the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in Connecticut, is recognized for advanced clinical care, quality, service, cost effectiveness and commitment to improving the health status of the communities it serves. YNHHS includes five hospitals – Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals, several specialty networks and Northeast Medical Group, a non-profit medical foundation with several hundred community-based and hospital-employed physicians. YNHHS is affiliated with Yale University and Yale Medicine, the clinical practice of the Yale School of Medicine and the largest academic multi-specialty practice in New England. Yale New Haven Hospital is the primary teaching hospital of Yale School of Medicine.