Study: Minorities Less Likely to See a Doctor for Psoriasis

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Psoriasis , Skin of Color , Research and Publications


Minorities are less likely than white Americans to see a doctor for psoriasis treatment despite the fact that their disease may be more severe, a new study shows.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that black, Asian, and other non-Hispanic minorities are about 40 percent less likely to see a dermatologist for psoriasis than whites. Additionally, whites averaged about double the number of doctor’s appointments for psoriasis overall compared with non-Hispanic minorities, the study found.  Rates were similar between white and Hispanic individuals.

Researchers published their findings this week in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The researchers gathered data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the most complete source of data currently available on healthcare utilization, cost, and insurance coverage in the United States. All of the information is self- or caregiver-reported over a series of interviews, and is designed to be representative of the general population. The team used information from 2001 through 2013 and identified 842 psoriasis individuals representing over 1.6 million Americans.

An average of 50.8 percent of whites saw a dermatologist for their psoriasis, compared to just 38.3 percent for non-Hispanic minorities, which include blacks, Asians, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and others. Among Hispanics, 46.7 percent saw a dermatologist for their psoriasis.

In addition to the rates for dermatological visits, whites also averaged approximately twice as many visits to a doctor overall. Researchers found whites averaged 2.69 visits per year, compared to 1.87 for Hispanics and 1.30 for non-Hispanic minorities. In total, this amounts to over 3 million fewer visits per year for psoriasis among non-Hispanic racial minorities compared with whites.

More research is needed to understand what may be contributing to these disparities, and if the gap in medical care is directly contributing to the increased severity of disease among minorities, the researchers conclude.

This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (K23-AR068433, K24-AR064310).

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