Combating Racial Disparities in Healthcare
The past few years have caused us all to take a step back and notice the racial and gender disparities in our society as a whole. Although these issues are often quite complex, the first step is often noticing them, and this is definitely seen in the health care and patient activation space. Because now, more than ever, medical diversity matters.
A number of challenges are often associated with medical diversity as well as recruitment for clinical trials.
Whether it is a local hospital or even the recruitment for a clinical trial in a certain area, the demographics are always unique. According to recent U.S. Census data, many cities may have diverse populations; whereas, others can be less diverse ranging from age to ethnicity. A quick look at the map on clinicaltrials.gov shows that the trial offerings among states vary greatly as well.
Some clinical trials may only be available to a specific gender and oftentimes have additional criteria regarding age. For example, a study for men with erectile dysfunction is a very different set of candidates than a clinical trial for ovarian cancer.
The 2019 Drug Snapshot summary report from the FDA showed that 72% of participants were women. Part of the reason for this was the testing of several drugs used to treat breast cancer, infertility, postpartum, and a number of other conditions specific to women.
Medical insurance is by no means a new topic but the cost of insurance, availability of coverage, and obtaining coverage for an entire family can greatly influence access to healthcare, medications, surgeries, and ongoing treatments.
Many complex factors are more difficult to calculate and are often combined with many of the previous items. These factors typically affect those at the lowest income levels. This can include things like reliable transportation, access to specialists, language barriers, and even how media is consumed (e.g., terrestrial radio vs. satellite radio or even lack of access to high-speed internet).
Current State of Patient Recruitment
The FDA periodically releases reports that show the demographics regarding those who participate in a variety of clinical trials.
The 2015-2016 report showed that clinical trials were nearly an even split between men and women. While each segment of the FDA report varied, the racial composition of the cardiovascular trials was quite interesting.
Of the 18,960 female patients, here is what the participation looked like based on race:
- 78.7% White
- 12.7% Asian
- 5.4% Other
- 3.2% African American
As stated previously, there are a number of factors that contribute to who participates in clinical trials. That said, there is room to broaden the spectrum to make sure that all who want to participate in clinical trials have access.
As it can be seen, the current system in which patients find clinical trials, and even care, is far from perfect. This is a truly complex issue and ultimately the patients, who need new types of care and unique solutions, are the ones who have paid the price.
According to a Deloitte Insights report published late last year:
“Enhancing meaningful representation of diverse participants in clinical trials would help provide information about drug response and measures of safety and efficacy in populations that have been historically underrepresented and understudied, Black and Latinx communities in particular.”
While disparities in healthcare have been the norm for a long time, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. In fact, providing the equity and access in which patients can get the care and solutions they need matters now more than ever.
83bar has always prided itself in our unique and inclusive patient activation system. Our methods have been proven time and time again, giving us the unique ability to meet patients where they are now regardless of race, religion, or gender. Furthermore, our innovative methods allow us to reach many patients who are outside of the current medical system and traditional referral pathways.
Here is a brief look at how we are able to help our clients find and connect with patients with our one-of-a-kind, multiphase approach.
We start with the locate phase to find patients who meet the specific inclusion criteria for a clinical study. We do this by creating highly targeted digital ads designed specifically to attract patients that match the criteria of a study.
Then, we evaluate patients by having them first complete a brief survey. This is typically a set of questions to find out more about their medical history and background to make sure the study is right for them.
Next comes the activation phase in which a clinically trained patient educator reaches out (often in minutes) to further screen and educate patients.
Finally, we guide patients through a navigation phase. Essentially leading them through a series of touchpoints created specifically for engagement. We follow that up with a variety of trigger-based automations and interactions with live agents. We then provide patients who are prepared to move forward with participation in the trial.
Our proven four-step process is created to help locate patients who meet the study criteria and empower them with knowledge so they have the clarity on the next steps to move forward.
Furthermore, we often share throughout these steps that we do not discriminate based on race, age, ethnicity, or any other demographic information. Even though we’ve always operated this way, it is important that patients understand that as well.
While diversity in health care isn’t likely going to be solved overnight, it is encouraging to see that companies across the globe are understanding these complex issues and are willing to take steps to move in the right direction.
At 83bar, we’ve pioneered innovative methods to directly connect with patients to help them find solutions to their unique health conditions. Our goal is to help transform this industry in the best way possible by empowering companies and patients to connect and grow.
If you’d like to learn how 83bar can help grow your business and reach patients, schedule a quick call with our team below.
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