Disparities in Access to Healthcare in Women with Endometriosis


Disparities in Access to Healthcare in Women with Endometriosis

Women from lower socio-economical background seek endometriosis treatment three times less than those who are better off.

Key Points

Highlights:

  • The socio-economic background has an influence on women’s access to healthcare and the kind of endometriosis treatment they get.

Importance:

  • It is important to conduct research on healthcare disparities as this can highlight the importance of developing healthcare programs to allow all women with endometriosis access to treatment.

What's done here:

  • Researchers analyzed 342 women with endometriosis who had private or public healthcare in terms of access to healthcare services and prescriptions.

Key results:

  • Women with endometriosis who had private health insurance used healthcare services three times more than women who had public health insurance. 
  • Women with endometriosis who had public health insurance:
    • were 3.5 times less likely to have a laparoscopy
    • were 2.7 times more likely to be prescribed opioid narcotics 
    • have had to use the emergency room
  • 29.5 percent of women who had public health insurance used obstetrics and gynecology services compared to 70.5 percent of women who had private health insurance.

Limitations:

  • The study is based on information provided by a single insurance company and for a period of three years only. The results obtained may have not been the same in other populations and in other periods.
  • The study did not take into account the severity of endometriosis or the general health status of the women.
  • There may be other differences between the two groups of women other than their health insurance type.

Lay Summary

There are significant differences in the use of medical services and prescriptions between women with endometriosis who have private healthcare and those who don’t. This is according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  

This finding is important because it underlines the importance of developing healthcare programs to allow all women with endometriosis to be able to access healthcare services and prescriptions. It is also important because it shows the importance of research on healthcare disparity in other healthcare systems. 

A team of researchers led by Dr.Flores conducted a study with the aim to compare the utilization of healthcare services by women with endometriosis who have private and public health insurance.

The researchers analyzed 342 women in Puerto Rico, ages 14 to 50 who have had at least one endometriosis-related medical claim during the three-year study period. The women were members of a health insurance company that provides both private and public health insurance. 

The team found that women who had private health insurance used healthcare services such as hospital visits, laboratory tests, and pathology and radiology services three times more than women with public health insurance. 

Moreover, women with a public cover were 3.5 times less likely to have a laparoscopy, 2.7 times more likely to be prescribed opioid narcotics, a very strong painkiller that is only prescribed if other painkillers do not work, and have had to use the emergency room, while those with private cover did not. 

Finally, only about a third (29.5 percent) of women in the public sector used obstetrics and gynecology services compared to 70.5 percent of women in the private sector.

The authors concluded that there were significant differences in health care access for women with endometriosis based on socio-economic parameters.


Research Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31226295


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