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Nurturing Healthcare Engagement in Disadvantaged Populations

To enable better outcomes for all populations, orthopedic teams must intentionally seek ways to build stronger relationships with their patients, especially members of disadvantaged populations who are likely to need additional support. Implementing standardized protocols for specific care paths and procedures can help practices correct against implicit bias and ensure consistent communication with all patient populations.

A review of the literature found that Black patients experienced poorer communication quality and more limited participatory decision-making in comparison to white patients. In one randomized clinical trial, eligible Black patients with end-stage osteoarthritis were 70% more likely to receive a total knee replacement than a control group after watching a 40-minute video that explained the risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgery. The study suggests that clinicians were not effectively communicating the availability of total knee replacement to their Black patients.

Shared decision-making tools, patient-centered counseling, and educational intervention may help address disparities in orthopedic surgery utilization. One method of fostering stronger patient/provider relationships is enabling the setting and ongoing monitoring of patient-centered goals, which is one of The Joint Commission’s requirements for various orthopedic Disease-Specific Care Certification programs.

According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, patients who are engaged in the goal-setting process and invested in the outcomes are more likely to adhere to their plan of care and treatment. Remote care management tools can help orthopedic practices track established patient goals, engage in shared decision-making, and follow-up with patients throughout their recovery, leading to better outcomes for disadvantaged patients.

Read our latest whitepaper, The Drive for Health Equity: Reducing Barriers to Care in Orthopedics to learn how your organization can increase engagement with disadvantaged populations and ensure greater health equity for all.

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