Author Affiliations: Office of Priority Populations Research, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Md.
Two influential reports from the Institute of Medicine, Crossing the Quality Chasm1 and Unequal Treatment,2 have
focused attention on contemporary challenges confronting health care delivery.
The first describes a health care system that often fails to provide care
based on current science and that is customized to the needs and preferences
of individuals. The second summarizes increasing evidence reflecting systematic
differences in care associated with patient race, ethnicity, and other factors.
Both reports have prompted considerable discussions and debate among the medical
profession and the public. However, a growing consensus accepts that a strategy
integrating reduction in disparities in quality of care is a coherent and
efficient approach to redesigning the US health care system.3
Aaron KF, Clancy CM. Improving Quality and Reducing DisparitiesToward a Common Pathway. JAMA. 2003;289(8):1033-1034. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.1033