CHoSEN Collaborative has been published again! We reached out to Blair Weikel, lead author of “Ethnic Disparities in the Care of Opioid-Exposed Newborns in Colorado Birthing Hospitals”to understand more about why this research is important, what was most surprising, and what she would like to see for Colorado’s efforts to improve care of families impacted by substance use in the future.

From your perspective, why was it so important to do this research?
“So often we assess data in aggregate and report success when overall average outcomes improve. However, we all know that health is not equitably distributed, a phenomenon that is masked unless we disaggregate data by the social constructs that predict disparate healthcare experiences and health outcomes. It is critical that researchers of all populations, but especially highly sensitive ones such as the SEN population and their families, consider the ways that discrimination can intensify the difficulties these families may face.”

As you were analyzing the data, what most surprised you?
“In theory, CHoSEN QIC’s interventions were rolled out in a hospital at a single time, meaning they should have been implemented for all patients at one time. However, the trend in the data in a delay for improvement for Hispanic families was pretty clear and initially surprising. In retrospect, it makes sense that certain families would have barriers to being engaged in the interventions, such as language or schedules that do not allow for visitation during normal business hours and that it would take hospital teams more time to determine how to best support them – which the data shows they ultimately did.”

How can hospitals who participate in the CHoSEN Collaborative support the ability to do more of this kind of research in the future?
“Assessment and publication of this work could not be done without the hard work and dedication of CHoSEN QIC hospital teams. To continue to share our statewide progress and struggles, hospitals can continue to enter data reflecting their work.”

Thinking about these kinds of data analysis efforts, where do you hope to see Colorado go next? 
“I would love to see all hospital systems in Colorado engaged with the CHoSEN collaborative, especially as we work to expand our focus from opioid-exposed newborns to infants exposed to any substance during pregnancy. Having a statewide consistent approach to the treatment of these infants and support of their families will likely lead to improved and more equitable outcomes.”

Read the full publication, “Ethnic Disparities in the Care of Opioid-Exposed Newborns in Colorado Birthing Hospitals” here, and reach out to Blair Weikel with any questions!

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