Committees  |   April 2016
Evidence of Health Care Disparities in the Perioperative Setting
Author Affiliations
  • Iyabo O. Muse, M.D.
    Committee on Professional Diversity
  • Vilma A. Joseph, M.D., M.P.H.
    Committee on Professional Diversity
Article Information
Quality Improvement / Committees
Committees   |   April 2016
Evidence of Health Care Disparities in the Perioperative Setting
ASA Monitor 04 2016, Vol.80, 44-45.
ASA Monitor 04 2016, Vol.80, 44-45.
In the last 10 years, the American health care system has been criticized because of its excessive cost, high levels of uninsured citizens and evidence of health care disparities. Even though the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured Americans, there has been little change in the quality of care for minorities. Health care disparities have been documented in several areas of medicine, such as diabetes care, cardiovascular screening and kidney transplant management.1 -3  In this context, it has been shown that these disparities have resulted in increased levels of morbidity and mortality among minority groups.2,3  Several reports from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) have shown that socioeconomic status, education and insurance type impact the use of health services and the quality of care a patient receives. For example, individuals with lower income received poorer quality of care than those with high incomes for 85 percent of core measures as determined by the AHRQ.4  Patients of low socioeconomic status who had a coronary bypass surgery had higher mortality rates than high-income individuals.5  The National Healthcare Disparities Report continues to provide an overview of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, and has tracked health conditions where there has been a successful reduction.6  The federal government has displayed interest in and support for research that identifies health care disparities and seeks ways to improve them.
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