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Algorithms and Race in the Pursuit of Equitable Health Care Quality Policy

Sanchez, Alexander R. (2023) Algorithms and Race in the Pursuit of Equitable Health Care Quality Policy. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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As part of the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQRP), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sought to improve data collection on racial inequities by introducing an algorithm that purports to infer the race of patients from their census block, language preference, and surname. However, the algorithm and the structure of the IQRP, broadly, do not necessarily provide meaningful information on the quality of care but rather reflect a tiered health care system that is largely defined along racial lines. This country’s lengthy history of racial oppression in a variety of sectors emerges as a driving force behind disparate health outcomes. Residential segregation, mass incarceration, and disparate insurance coverage, for example, each independently and collectively restrict the access of marginalized communities to often poorly funded hospitals and complicate data on health care quality at that level. In essence, algorithms inherently consist of human bias, and, by defining race in this manner, CMS fails to account for the complex interaction of race and access to care as they relate to the collection and analysis of health care quality data. In light of the shortfalls of the algorithm and the IQRP, this essay proposes a reimagining of health care quality that centers the perspectives and needs of marginalized communities and the hospitals that serve them.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sanchez, Alexander R.ars298@pitt.eduars298
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis advisorHershey, Tina Batratbh16@pitt.edutbh16UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSundquist, Christiansundquist@pitt.educbs56UNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 24 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 44
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: race, quality, algorithm
Date Deposited: 17 May 2023 15:51
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 15:51


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