University Study Finds Significant Reductions in Racial Health Care Disparities

medical-symbol2A new study led by researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, shows a significant reduction in racial disparities in various health care treatments between 2005 and 2010. The study examined 12 million acute care hospitalizations for patients who had a heart attack, heart failure, or suffered from pneumonia and compared treatments received by patients by race and ethnicity.

The results showed that on all 17 measures examined, the racial disparities in treatment narrowed during the 2005-to-2010 period. In nine of the 17 measures, a significant racial disparity that existed in 2005 had largely disappeared by 2010.

Amal Trivedi, associate professor of health services at Brown’s School of Public Health said that “this is happening because hospitals that disproportionately serve minority patients improved faster, and it’s also the case that individual hospitals are delivering more equal care to White and minority patients over time.”

Dr. Michael Fine, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of the study, said that “it is heartening that we found higher quality of care overall and large reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in health care for patients with these conditions, however, it is critically important to demonstrate that these improvements in care are accompanied by better patients outcomes.”

The article, “Quality and Equity of Care in U.S. Hospitals,” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It may be accessed here.

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