The Role in Informatics in Decreasing Health Disparities Name: Instructor: Course: June 7, 2012 Health disparities refer to preventable difference in the burden of injury, disease, violence, or opportunities to attain optimal health experienced by marginalized populations in society (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011, para…
2). In addition, health disparities are the result of poverty, environmental threats, inadequate access to health care, individual and behavioral factors as well as educational inequalities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011, para. 2). The healthcare provider also causes these disparities. This is to mean that; some healthcare providers and specialists treat racial and ethnic minorities as lesser humans as compared to their frequent clients. This leads to the minorities seeking alternative healthcare in lowly performing hospitals and clinics. It, also, leads to minority groups seeking medical attention from medical institutions that are understaffed, and have lesser budgets to cater to needs of their patients, as well as lack of specialized, technical support. Culture and language also inhibit access to healthcare. This is in regard to the fact and the possibility that they may not be in a position to speak and understand the language used in healthcare facilities in a given area. As a result, there is poor communication and the minorities end up suffering the consequences of their ailments. Language barrier is the outcome of lack of interpreters and bilingual staff as well as lack of adequate funds for language services. Disparities in healthcare are also caused by the socioeconomic status of the individuals. Individuals with more income, better quality education and occupational status, have better health status as compared those who lack the above. Socioeconomic status steps in reference to life expectancy, access to health facilities and lifestyles. Lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and ailments from smoking, are more common in individuals who only have a high school education. Healthcare disparities can be as a result of geographical disparities, as well. This is as in cases where certain populations, minority, live outside metropolitan areas because they are poor. Recent research by shows that healthcare is delivered locally (to populations who are within reach), and thus those outside the metropolis are not able to access it. The effects of geographic locations were explained by a study on revascularization procedures where certain neighborhoods had fewer cases (Frist, 2005, para. 9). These neighborhoods were inhabited by minority groups of blacks and Hispanics. Ethnically and racially, health disparities have been found in six main areas: infant mortality, cancer screening and management, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, immunizations and infections of HIV and AIDS (Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities, 2009, para. 5). Infant mortality refers to cases where children die before the age of five years and is a common disparity in regard to health. Cancer screening has its share of disparities when it comes to treatment of parties suffering from the condition. This is specially so ethnically and racially as more African-American minorities suffer and die from it as compared to those from other races and ethnic groups. In cardiovascular diseases, despite being a leading killer among all races and ethnicities, they are more common among black minorities. With this more African-Americans die from heart conditions than whites. A report on diabetes, conducted by The Centre for Disease ...
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