Health disparities, which are sometimes referred to as health inequities, have garnered an increasing amount of attention from physicians and health policy experts, as well as a renewed focus from federal health agencies. Differential access to medical care, treatment modalities, and disparate outcomes among various racial and ethnic groups have been validated in numerous studies. We know that the contributing factors to health equity are cost and access to the healthcare system, primary care physicians, and preventive health services.
HEALTH DISPARITIES DEFINED
Health disparities are differences and/or gaps in the quality of health and healthcare across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups. It can also be understood as population-specific differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, or access to healthcare. Another useful definition has been provided by the Institute of Medicine that suggests that health disparities are racial or ethnic differences in the quality of healthcare that are not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness of intervention. Despite the usefulness of these definitions, it is important to understand that health disparities are not just based on race, ethnic, and cultural differences within the population. Lifestyle choices, age, sexual orientation, lack of access, and personal, socio-economic, and environmental characteristics are also to be included.
DISPARITIES IN COST AND AFFORDABILITY
There is an enormous amount of data that further emphasizes a major contributor to the problem of health disparities: the cost and access to many Americans for obtaining the medical care they require. Clear disparities exist in rates of health insurance coverage among black and Latino population groups. The consequences of being uninsured are significant and include the use of fewer preventive services, poorer health outcomes, higher mortality and disability rates, lower annual earnings because of sickness and disease, and the advanced stage of illness (i.e., many are “sicker” when diagnosed). Thus, the uninsured tend to be disproportionately poor, young, and from racial and/or ethnic minority groups.
At The AGA Group™, our overarching goal is to help healthcare facilities achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improving the health of all groups. The AGA Group™ offers Professional Training to Maximize Value-Based Performance in Diverse Underserved Communities. Our team of Professional Trainers and Consultants will customize courses for your practice or facility to assist your staff in the delivery of quality care.
- How to Align Patient Experience and Patient-Centered Medical Home Data to Maximize Performance and Health Equity
- Best Practices in DesigningTraining Strategies to Improve Culturally Competent Care and Health Equity Within the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model
- Application of Health Belief Models to Improve Trust in Provider Technical Competencies among Racially Diverse Communities.
- Best Practices for Improving Patient Engagement to Improve Compliance and Clinical Outcomes