In article published in the The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, a team of researchers described an actionable plan for closing the disparity between white and non-white asthma patients.
The paper focuses on four distinct methods of eliminating disparity, each of which is discussed in further detail. This includes: (1) racial and ethnic inclusivity in research, including both researchers and participants, (2) increased diversity in both practice and education, (3) increased focus on communication standards between patients, providers and practitioners, and (4) awareness of social determinants of health.
The fourth point is especially relevant to asthma and allergy care, as social and environmental factors can often significantly exacerbate existing conditions, and increase the severity of existing disparities. Because asthma and allergies are so environmentally sensitive, and a patient’s environment is often directly dependent on socio-economic status, this is a key area where improvement can be sought.
Improved communication is also deemed to be essential, as management of these conditions often requires a thorough understanding of everyday, at-home management techniques by the patients. When practitioners and patients aren’t able to communicate as effectively due to a lack of shared cultural communicative practices, this at-home management can greatly suffer due to misunderstandings on both ends.
These suggestions reflect the fact that many disparities in asthma care are the result of environmental and social factors, rather than the direct result of medical difficulties.