Mac’s Safety Space: Healthcare access and safe inclusive care environments

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

I think we can place this under the category of “just so you know;” as the healthcare industry (that always struck me as something of an oxymoronic term, but I guess it’s the reality of the world in which we live) turns fuller attentions towards the challenges of access, equity (; ), and managing social determinants of health and the disparities arising from those determinants, I wanted to share an interesting article that focuses on the creation of inclusive care environments.

The article ( ) focuses on transgender and gender-nonconforming patients, but the idea is that (like any patient population) providing a safe and affirming environment cannot be undertaken with a monolithic approach. I know from a regulatory compliance standpoint, a “one size fits all” approach can be the simplest to manage, but it’s way past the time in which complex patient populations can be “distilled” down to a single strategy.

Of course, we know that some of the accreditation organizations will be looking at “performance” relative to these concerns (for example, and that there is a list of required tasks/activities:

  • Identification of an individual to lead activities to improve health care equity
  • Assessing patients’ health-related social needs
  • Analysis of quality and safety data to identify disparities
  • Development of an action plan to improve health care equity
  • Taking action when the organization does not meet the goals in its action plan
  • Informing key stakeholders about progress to improve health care equity

How this will impact the management of the physical environment is yet to be seen, but I think it is safe to say that we will all play a role in the future of the care environment.

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at