From the Director
Research Activities, June 2011, No. 370
In London, "Mind the gap" is a warning sign for passengers crossing the gap between the platform and the train. When I think about disparities in health care, "Mind the gap" is more than a warning. It's a call to action.
At AHRQ, our Health Care Innovations Exchange program is all about taking action to solve problems, improve health care quality, and reduce disparities by sharing evidence-based innovations and solutions.
The pathways model is a perfect fit for our Innovations Exchange program. Developed by Drs. Mark and Sarah Redding, a husband-wife team, pathways help find those at risk, connect them to care, and measure the outcomes. The Reddings even propose that reimbursement be directly linked to these outcomes.
We developed a Community Care Coordination Learning Network to provide information and support for communities interested in this model. We now have 16 communities or "hubs" in 10 States.
The Reddings' Community Health Access Project in Ohio focuses on geographic areas with high rates of low-birth-weight deliveries. In a growing Hispanic community, the Rural and Urban Access to Health in Indiana serves individuals primarily with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal poverty line. Central Oklahoma Project Access works with the homeless, underserved, and uninsured populations.
All the community hubs link patients in difficult places and circumstances to quality care, while saving costs for the health care system. These communities are doing more than "minding the gap." They're helping to mend it.
Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.