Pro Bono: Culturally Competent Healthcare
Inequality in Healthcare Outcomes Carries Huge Cost
June 23, 2021
Pro Bono: Culturally Competent HealthcareDownload Article
Patients of color face barriers when seeking care, leading to disparities in health outcomes. One part of the solution is diversifying the patient-physician experience.
The U.S. Healthcare System Has an Inequality Problem
There is a disparity in both care and health outcomes for minority groups in the United States. The Black and Latinx communities experience 30%-40% poorer health outcomes than white patients across all medical interventions — even when insurance status, income, age and severity of condition are comparable1. These disparities include more premature deaths, higher maternal mortality rates, and increased cases of illness such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and COVID-19.
To better understand what’s going on, there are two useful lenses through which to view the overall healthcare market landscape: patients and physicians. The Black and brown patient and physician populations are specific focus areas.
Disparity in Healthcare Lays a Large Cost Burden on Society
Inequality of health outcomes for Black and brown patients not only goes against our nation’s identity and values, but it also carries a significant economic cost. This cost is felt by patients, physicians, healthcare providers, employers and insurers/payors. These disparities cost healthcare payers alone an estimated $331 billion in economic losses between 2008 and 20185. The total cost to society is difficult to quantify but is certainly material. The system is ripe for improvement.