Racially diverse hospitals provide better GI care for African American patients — 5 points

A study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found black patients may do better when they're treated at U.S. hospitals with more racially diverse populations, as reported by The Huffington Post.

Philip N. Okafor, MD, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and lead study author, and his colleagues analyzed data on more than 848,000 admissions at almost 3,400 hospitals nationwide. They focused on five common gastrointestinal problems:

  • Cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhages
  • Gastrointestinal obstructions
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Gallbladder surgery

Here are five points:

1. Overall, black people were about 19 percent more likely to die or experience serious complications than white patients.

2. Black patients that received treatment at hospitals with more diverse patient populations were 20 percent less likely to die or experience major complications than counterparts seen at hospitals with less racial diversity.

3. At the hospital level, the majority of patients were white, and the proportion of minorities typically ranged from 26 percent to 30 percent.

4. Hospital charges overall were 36 percent higher for black patients than for white people. However, black patients seen at hospitals with more diverse populations had charges 51 percent lower than if they were seen at hospitals with less diversity.

5. Black patients also had slightly shorter hospital stays when treated at hospitals with more diverse patient populations, although the difference was less than a day.

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