According to this study, minorities are less likely to seek healthcare intervention for eczema despite having more severe cases.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. Based on information from this cohort study published in the Journal of American Academic Dermatology, in the United States, eczema affects 17.1% of non-Hispanic Black children, 11.2% of non-Hispanic White children, and 13.7% of Hispanic White children. However, there is limited research on how much healthcare is utilized for black children who suffer from eczema.
The study examined healthcare utilization for childhood eczema among different racial/ethnic groups in the United States and included a multi-racial group of 2043 participants. Non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanic Whites under 18 years of age with caregiver-reported eczema made up the study group. Data for this study was retrieved from 2-year longitudinal cohorts of the 2001-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. During the 2-year follow-up period, healthcare utilization outcomes were assessed by race/ethnicity.
More Prescriptions Were Needed for Non-Hispanic Black Patients
Non-Hispanic Blacks were less likely than Whites to report an ambulatory visit for eczema among all children with eczema. It also found that among the study participants with ≥1 ambulatory visit for eczema, non-Hispanic Blacks reported more visits and prescriptions than Whites. They were also more likely than Whites to report a dermatology visit for eczema.
Underutilization of Healthcare Among Black Children With Eczema Was Noted
This study’s results suggested that even though this skin condition can be more severe for non-Hispanic Black children, Black children with eczema utilize healthcare options less frequently.
This study did have some limitations. Only self-report or caregiver report was used for eczema identification.
Other research studies and literature reviews have explored the direct and indirect barriers to healthcare utilization for minorities. However, further exploration is needed regarding effective ways to reduce these barriers for increased healthcare utilization in minority populations.
Fischer, A. H., Shin, D. B., Margolis, D. J., & Takeshita, J. (2017). Racial and ethnic differences in health care utilization for childhood eczema: An analysis of the 2001-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. J Am Acad Dermatol, 77(6), 1060-1067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2017.08.035