Disparities in health and healthcare quality and outcomes persist in this country. They may be based on race, ethnicity, gender, location, socioeconomic status, or other factors. These disparities contribute to poor quality of care and poor overall health outcomes for specific populations. Solutions that can reduce persisting disparities have been elusive and are likely to be complex. Novel, patient centered approaches to understanding and reducing disparities in health and in health care quality are needed.
PCORI’s authorizing legislation requires that we pay special attention to health disparities, in terms of delivery and outcomes of care. Addressing Disparities is one of PCORI’s five national priorities for research. This priority focuses on identifying potential differences in prevention, diagnosis, or treatment effectiveness; preferred clinical outcomes; and the health care required to achieve best outcomes in each population.
Our Addressing Disparities program funds and manages projects, related to this priority, to reduce or eliminate health disparities, paying special attention to care delivery and outcomes. Many past studies describe disparities and have determined some of the drivers. In our Addressing Disparities program, we push the research community to undertake patient-centered studies that go further than describing disparities in health and health care. We seek evidence to guide the development of effective interventions.
Our Addressing Disparities program focuses on a subset of PCORI’s populations of interest for which there is either strong evidence for health and healthcare disparities or insufficient health data. These groups are racial and ethnic minorities; rural populations; people with low incomes or low socioeconomic status; individuals with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities; and persons with limited English proficiency.
There may be differences between these groups not only in access to prevention, diagnostic, treatment, or service options, but also in patient preferences, communication strategies, or response to therapies.
Posted: September 10, 2014; Updated: December 13, 2016