According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 to 2020 decade is the first in history to witness the most significant decline in the white population. The data produced by the 2020 census estimates that approximately 4/10 Americans belong to a race or ethnicity other than white. It is a colossal figure that proves that the U.S. population comprises a diverse range of races and ethnic groups.
Even though this gives out a pleasant image of the American nation, it poses a few threats to the system. And one such risk is the substantial racial disparities and discriminations faced in healthcare by the various ethnic groups. Research and studies have indicated that despite the overall healthcare sector improving massively, the minorities still struggle to receive adequate medical care.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has set a goal to eradicate racial disparity from the U.S. Healthcare facilities completely. It urges medical professionals to assess their practices to make sure they demonstrate healthcare equity when treating patients. The AMA also founded the Commission to End Healthcare Disparities in the year 2004. It got established in alliance with the National Medical Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association.
Considering the health impact of COVID-19 on the world’s population, many other issues have arisen that have added to the people’s misery. With some ethnic minorities getting neglected in the provision of adequate COVID-19 specific medical attention and care. For us to minimize racial discrimination, we need first to reach the root cause. It is only through this that we can devise the necessary strategies and policies to address this issue.
What Causes Racial Disparities?
The Institute of Medicine (IoM) conducted an assessment and issued a report on the subject of healthcare disparities. According to the paper published, racial discriminations happen in the healthcare sector. They are related to the broader perspective of social and economic inequality. It stated that this discrimination resulted from an overall discriminating mindset in many aspects of American life.
The report went onto state that stereotyping, bias, and prejudice are the factors that contribute to the healthcare disparity. And only through understanding these behaviors in depth can we counter these persisting bias and stereotypes against the minorities.
How To Minimize Racial Disparities?
The IOM also issued several recommendations on how medical professionals and healthcare institutes can address healthcare discrimination. Few of these guidelines are as follows:
- Ensuring increased awareness of the prevalent ethnic and racial disparities among the public may help address health disparity.
- Along with it, direct campaigns and seminars will suffice the need for healthcare professionals’ guide.
- Bringing in a more excellent representation of minorities in healthcare professionals’ pool may also increase understanding between patients and healthcare providers. Currently, minorities are underrepresented.
- Steering clear from the division of healthcare plans between socio-economic classes. Healthcare plans need to be more generic and not promote disparity among socio-economic classes.
- To use evidence-based guidelines to ensure consistent care throughout all healthcare facilities.
- Eradicating benefits that promote racial disparities and devise systems to ensure adequate healthcare facilities reach the minorities and ethnic groups.
- To structure various programs for patients’ education to know how to access better medical care and rights.
- To Encourage the utilization of social health workers. Community health workers get better equipped in dealing with the social issues faced by different minorities.
- Different ethnic or racial groups may face difficulty in communicating their grievances. Medical professionals should look into the use of interpretation services where such a need arises.
- Cross-cultural awareness needs to become a part of the training given to healthcare professionals.
- Healthcare institutes should adopt an approach of constant monitoring of performance against racial disparity factors.
- Healthcare institutes should incessantly research on the causes of racial disparity and devise strategies to counter them.
- Such facilities should also continually evaluate the barriers to healthcare equity and timely address these factors.
Awareness is the most significant deterrent in eradicating racial and ethnic disparity in the healthcare sector. Also, state bodies advise that healthcare professionals get adequately trained to handle their patients with sheer equity and nothing else. Spreading awareness in the general masses of the existence of such discrimination can help address the root cause. Dealing with discriminating behaviors and stereotyping mindsets across all walks is the perfect way to ensure a healthcare sector free of racial or ethnic disparity.