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Stats, Facts and Myths about Healthcare Disparities

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The National Healthcare Disparities Report, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is the first national comprehensive effort to measure differences in access and use of health care services by various populations.  
The report presents data on differences in the use of services, access to health care, and impressions of quality for seven clinical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, end-stage renal disease, heart disease, HIV and AIDS, mental health, and respiratory disease as well as data on maternal and child health, nursing home and home health care, and patient safety.  
Some highlights from the report include:  
Inequality in Quality Exists
Minorities are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer and colorectal cancer compared with whites.
Individuals of lower socioeconomic position are less likely to receive recommended diabetic services and more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes and its complications.
When hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, Hispanics are less likely to receive optimal care.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and persons of lower socioeconomic position are more likely to die from HIV. Minorities also account for a disproportionate share of new AIDS cases.
The use of physical restraints in nursing homes is higher among Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with non-Hispanic whites.
Blacks and poorer individuals have higher rates of avoidable hospital admissions (i.e., hospitalizations for health conditions that, in the presence of comprehensive primary care, rarely require hospitalization).
 
Opportunities for Preventive Care are Missed
Blacks and persons of lower socioeconomic status tend to have higher rates of death from cancer. While rates of cancer death may reflect a variety of factors not associated with health care (such as genetic disposition, diet, and lifestyle), screening and early treatment of cancers can lead to reductions in mortality.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and persons of lower socioeconomic position are less likely to receive screening and treatment for cardiac risk factors.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and persons of lower socioeconomic position are less likely to receive childhood immunizations.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and individuals of lower socioeconomic status are less likely to receive recommended immunizations for influenza and pneumonia.
 
Doctor Individual Communication Problems Reported
Many racial and ethnic groups, as well as poor and less educated individuals, are more likely to have report poor communication with their physicians.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and poor individuals report more problems with some aspects of the individual-provider relationships.
Many racial and ethnic minorities and lower income individuals report more difficult individual-provider relationships.
Asians, Hispanics, and those of lower socioeconomic status have greater difficulty accessing health care information, including information on prescription drugs.
 
 
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