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The Joint Commission and Kaiser Permanente Announce University of Chicago Medicine as Recipient of 2023 Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity

The Joint Commission and Kaiser Permanente announced the University of Chicago Medicine as the recipient of the 2023 Bernard J. Tyson National Award for Excellence in Pursuit of Healthcare Equity. The award recognizes UChicago Medicine for its initiative Systematic Treatment and Management of Postpartum Hypertension (STAMPP-HTN) to improve postpartum care for women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

The initiative included a series of interventions that significantly improved postpartum patient visit adherence and blood pressure rates and reduced the disparities between Black and white patient populations.

The award, named for late Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO and champion for healthcare equity Bernard J. Tyson, recognizes healthcare organizations and their partners that led initiatives that achieved a measurable, sustained reduction in one or more healthcare disparities.

UChicago Medicine, a tertiary urban academic health system with a predominantly Black and publicly insured patient population, identified a disparity between its Black and white patient populations: At baseline, the rate of 6-week postpartum follow-up visit attendance for a blood pressure check was:

  • 30% for Black patients
  • 53.5% for white patients

In January 2019, UChicago Medicine implemented a series of interventions to address the disparity, which included patient and provider education, updated clinic protocols, distribution of a STAMPP-HTN kit for patients, and additional interventions. After implementation of these interventions, in September 2019, the rate of postpartum follow-up visit attendance improved to:

  • 33.5% for Black patients
  • 59.4% for white patients

Later, the STAMPP-HTN team made telehealth appointments available to patients, alongside continued use of the previous series of interventions. This further improved the rate of postpartum follow-up visit attendance to:

  • 76.3% for Black patients
  • 76.7% for white patients 

This left only a 0.4% disparity between Black and white patients.

The addition of the final intervention, a remote patient monitoring program, further improved the rate of postpartum follow-up visit attendance to 83.1%, with similar rates among Black and white patients, eliminating the disparity between the populations.

Patients’ clinical outcomes also improved significantly. After implementation, fewer patients experienced a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher at the first postpartum blood pressure check when compared with preintervention (18.5% vs 39.1%, P<.004). The effect size did not differ by race.

“The University of Chicago Medicine’s accomplishments with the STAMPP-HTN program are exemplary,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer, The Joint Commission Enterprise. “UChicago Medicine has shown that healthcare disparities can be improved – and even eliminated – with intention in determining mechanisms of disparity and perseverance in sequentially addressing them.”

“We congratulate UChicago Medicine for their remarkable success in addressing an important maternal health issue and for their persistence in ensuring that their practice interventions not only improved outcomes but did so in a way that eliminated a recognized inequity by race,” said Dr. Andrew Bindman, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Permanente. “This is the type of innovation and forward progress we had in mind when we established this award in Bernard’s name.”

“Our effort to reduce disparities in obstetrical care includes a successful STAMPP-HTN project with a focused effort in the management of postpartum blood pressures,” said Dr. Sarosh Rana, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the STAMPP-HTN program, University of Chicago Medicine. “Such programs are practical, scalable interventions that can make life-saving changes for our patients.”

“We are committed to addressing and reducing health disparities among the diverse groups of patients who come to UChicago Medicine for medical care and have taken steps across our enterprise to identify and target these critical issues,” said Dr. Stephen Weber, executive vice president and chief medical officer, University of Chicago Medicine.

UChicago Medicine will be honored in a virtual ceremony on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, from 2-3 p.m. CT. Register to attend.

To learn more about the Tyson Award, STAMPP-HTN, and other healthcare organizations doing excellent work around healthcare equity, visit the Tyson Award webpage.