Dr. Crutchfield, what do people mean when they use the term “health disparity”?
Merriam-Webster defines disparity as “the state of being different.” The term “health disparities” refers to several conditions. It almost always refers to differences in groups relating to their socioeconomic status, race and/or gender. It can also mean differences in the presence of certain diseases within groups. It can mean the outcomes of disease treatment in these groups. It can mean the quality of health care and access to healthcare services that exist within these groups. Disparities can also be caused by a lack of efficiency within the healthcare system. As a result of the lack of efficiency, some studies (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies) have speculated that approximately $50 billion are spent wastefully every year in the U.S. By reducing or eliminating health disparities, there could be a significant savings to the healthcare system accompanied by an overall increased quality of health care. Continue Reading →