Healthcare disparities in lupus
According to a recent survey, while both African American and White people with lupus have similar levels of confidence in their own abilities to manage the disease, they perceive their healthcare providers’ communication differently. This disconnect is associated with disease-related damage among African Americans with lupus but not White people with the disease.
A group of 121 people with lupus – 37% White and 63% African American – were asked questions about their communications with their doctor, their confidence in managing their medications and treatment (self-efficacy) and their general health status. Overall, both racial groups exhibited similar levels of communication and self-efficacy. However, African Americans reported having poorer provider experiences. Survey scores for African Americans were lower regarding “patient-centered decision making” and “explained results, medications.” This group felt their communications with providers were hurried, particularly noting the use of difficult words.
The researchers also found that younger White people with lupus saw less lupus-related damage than their African American counterparts. Perceptions of word difficulty and self-efficacy were associated with higher lupus-related damage scores in African American respondents.
More research surrounding clinical encounters – provider communications and self-efficacy – in lupus is needed. Addressing these factors and interventions may help to reduce racial disparities in lupus and improve outcomes. Learn more about racial and ethnic bias in health care.