A new study shows an alarming health care disparity, affecting women and minorities. Researchers looked at evaluation of patients with chest pain at emergency departments, and found race, gender and insurance differences factor in strongly. In other words, many people are not getting needed tests, and the problem is getting worse. "An African American man, in 1995, had an 81 percent chance of receiving an EKG," says Dr. Liliana Pezzin of the Medical College of Wisconsin . "In 2000, that rate had gone done to 68 percent."
Researchers from the Medical College and Johns Hopkins University found African American males 25 percent to 30 percent less likely to receive tests recommended for patients with chest pain, than were non-African American males. African American women were approximately five percent less likely to get an EKG than non-African American men. The study examined emergency room data from 1995 to 2000, and found that diagnostic tests such as electrocardiography, chest radiography, oxygen saturation monitoring and cardiac monitoring are applied differently, based on race, gender and insurance.
The study appears in the February issue of Academic Emergency Medicine .