the executive director of a Hmong community group to interact and determine the group’s
Heywood has generated attention for increased education in specific patient populations. For
example, in 2008, the hospital found that all admissions for one of its smallest minority groups
were for chemical exposure. Staff and clinicians were able to link the admissions to workplace
conditions and collaborate with community leaders to promote healthy behaviors in the
To diversify the hospital’s staff base, multicultural services worked with human resources staff,
volunteer services, and medical staff to self-identify, just as with patients. This information is also
used to determine potential staff to be trained as interpreters.
Heywood Hospital mandates cultural competency training for all new hires and trains its staff on
cultural competency issues on an annual basis. The hospital also provides interpreter training
annually. For example, April is diversity month at Heywood, and the hospital uses the
opportunity to educate staff on specific topics impacting various patient populations.
The work of the multicultural team is tied to the quality improvement process, so the team
reports progress to senior management.
The greatest success is establishing a program that is recognized by executive management.
As staff members have become culturally competent, the hospital has seen an increase in the
number of minority patients who seek care at Heywood. The hospital is also able to attract
diverse staff and volunteers.
The local community respects Heywood Hospital and looks to the hospital as a resource for
cultural competency issues.
Financial limitations prevent allocating more resources to equity efforts.
Staff stereotypes about patients still exist; additional staff training is needed to sensitize staff to
the importance of providing optimal customer service to all patients regardless of background.
The ―unknown‖ category in patient race and ethnicity data currently hovers around two
percent. The hospital is improving efforts to decrease this number so no patient will be
Moving to the next step after identifying trends in patient race, ethnicity, and primary language
data is required. It will involve a combination of translating materials into patients’ preferred
languages, providing specific services for patients, and going out into the community to connect
with community leaders and provide education.
Getting the information technology department on board and convincing them to prioritize the
data collection efforts is also a continuing challenge.
Improving Health Equity Through Data Collection AND Use: Case Study 1
A Guide for Hospital Leaders
Be willing to learn. Heywood Hospital has utilized available resources from the Joint
Commission, American Hospital Association/Health Research & Educational Trust, the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other state collaborators.
Combine the disparities data collection and use with existing reporting requirements. This
process will ensure streamlining efforts across multiple departments and facilitate broad buy-in.
State initiatives, regional programs, and payer policies have also served as facilitators to data
collection and use at Heywood Hospital.
Continually engage executive leadership. The CEO of the hospital is a member of the
multicultural task force and reports back to the hospital’s board of trustees.