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Racial Health Disparities Present in Diabetic Patient Care Access

0 2 years ago

Despite a higher risk of diabetes-related complications, patient care access for the latest diabetes treatments was lower for racial minorities than for White patients, underscoring the stark racial health disparities plaguing the disease.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of medicine conducted the study to determine the association between race/ethnicity with the initiation of newer diabetes medications. The team followed nearly 5,000 US participants with type 2 diabetes for a median of 8.3 years to compare initiation rates.

“Over the last two decades, there have been several new medications that have been shown to be beneficial to patients with diabetes complications like heart disease and kidney disease,” Scott Pilla, MD, MHS, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a press release.

“These medications are often more expensive, and we worry that the groups needing them most might not have access.”

The data collected showed that all racial minority groups had lower initiation rates of newer diabetes medication than White patients of similar socioeconomic status. The rates were significantly lower for Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) patients.

Researchers found that Black patients were 20 percent less likely to start newer diabetes medication than their White counterparts. Meanwhile, AI/AN patients were 50 percent less likely to start newer diabetes medication.

Researchers also found that the source of medical care was associated with the initiation of newer diabetes medications. For example, patients who received care from hospital-affiliated clinics or community health centers were less likely to initiate newer medications than those who received care in private offices.

“There are several major possibilities as to why this inequity exists,” said Pilla. “Patients may have differences in access to medications, there may be differences in how they are treated by doctors or there may be differences in patient preference.”

In comparison to Black and Hispanic participants, White participants were found to have higher yearly income, higher educational achievement, and were more likely to be insured.


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