February 22, 2023
Inequities and SDOH | Tea Leaves
  • Black and Hispanic veterans’ access to specialty health care declined during the pandemic, according to a recently published study that also found non-Hispanic white veterans were largely unaffected. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) late last month, looked at wait times for over a million veterans seeking cardiology or orthopedic appointments, two of the most common specialty services that the VA provides. The researchers found that wait times for Hispanic veterans increased by five days for cardiology services and four days for orthopedic ones from 2019 to the 2021 fiscal year compared to the wait times for white non-Hispanics. (Article here)
  • Only about 5.7 percent of physicians in the United States identify as Black or African American, according to the latest data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. This statistic does not reflect the communities they serve, as an estimated 12 percent of the U.S. population is Black or African American. And while the proportion of Black physicians in the U.S. has risen over the past 120 years, some research shows, it’s still extremely low. (Article here)
  • Electronic health records do not accurately reflect some social determinants of health, a new study published in JAMA found. Screenings of food insecurity, housing instability, and financial strain in adult primary care were found to reach varying levels of accuracy. The results of 826 patient self-reports revealed that EHR questionnaires were successful at highlighting patients battling food insecurity while those experiencing housing instability or financial strain were less likely to be flagged. If not identified, patients who could benefit the most from additional resources may be missed. (Article here)