Beyond Intervention: Poor access, diagnosis and treatment of women's vascular health are having disastrous effects.
Submitted by Abbott
What happens when the medical caretakers are ill-equipped to care for your personal caretakers?
The answer — so far — for the cardiovascular care of women and people of color has not been encouraging. Conscious or unconscious gender, racial and ethnic biases are adversely impacting their health on the whole. And the costs are staggering.
The recently-published white paper and supplemental information from "Beyond Intervention: Patient Experience And Health Equity" survey of 1,289 people suffering from vascular diseases across 13 countries — along with 408 physicians and 173 healthcare leaders — found:
Additional Emotional and Economic Costs
Because women can present symptoms differently from men5 — which can contribute to vascular conditions being underdiagnosed and undertreated — more than half of women mention difficulty finding a doctor that takes them seriously, leading to a lack of trust, access and understanding for women and people of color.
Fallout from the emotional toll is exacerbated by economic burdens.
"Inherent biases can hinder a physician’s ability to detect and recognize symptoms, especially for populations that have been historically misdiagnosed in the cardiovascular disease setting, such as young, female and certain ethnicities," said Dr. Natalia Pinilla, Interventional Cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences/Niagara Health and Assistant Professor in the McMaster University Department of Medicine.
It's an emotional and economic toll that cannot be allowed to fester. At Abbott, we have a mission to restore dignity to healthcare through medical technology that’s affordable and accessible to help billions more by 2030. We understand that complex problems require multifaceted solutions to close these gaps in care for women and people of color.
Three Places to Start
Total Solution: Conscious Inclusion
To reduce the gender and race gaps with the help of digital health tools and screening technologies as well as computer-aided review of data, those tools would be most effective if they are truly programmed with diverse data sets that are representative of all populations,11 requiring examination of personal biases in clinical and economic decision-making.
"The first step is to recognize physician and cultural bias in cardiovascular care and its socioeconomic and clinical impacts." said Dr. Nick West, Chief Medical Officer and Divisional Vice President of Medical Affairs, Abbott’s Vascular Business. "Only then can we begin to outline the necessary steps that must be taken to address the systemic issues underpinning underrepresentation, health inequity and ethnic/sex bias that are currently affecting patients suffering from vascular disease."
And that's the answer we all want to get to.
1Lawton, et al., "2021 ACC/AHA/SCAI Guideline for Coronary Artery Revascularization: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines," Circulation. 2021; 144:00-00.
2Vaccarino, et al. "Sex-Based Differences in Early Mortality after Myocardial Infarction," The New England Journal of Medicine, July 22, 1991.
3Kunadian V, Chieffo A, Camici PG, et al. An EAPCI Expert Consensus Document on Ischaemic with Non-Obstructive Coronary Arteries in Collaboration with European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Coronary Pathophysiology & Microcirculation Endorsed by Coronary Vasomotor Disorders International Study Group. European Heart Journal. 2020; 0:1-21.
4Schumann CL, Mathew RC, Dean J-HL et al. Functional and economic impact of INOCA and influence of coronary microvascular dysfunction. JACC Cardiovascular Imaging 2021; 14: 1369-79.
5Mehta et al., "Gender in cardiovascular medicine: chest pain and coronary artery disease," European Heart Journal (2019) 40, 3819-3826.
7"Population, Female (% of Total Population) – United States," The World Bank, 2020.
8Siliang Chen, M.D., and Jiarui Li, M.D., "Participation of Black US Residents in Clinical Trials of 24 Cardiovascular Drugs Granted FDA Approval, 2006-2020," JAMA Network, March 23, 2021.
9Tamir, et al., "Facts About the US Black Population," Pew Research Center, March 25, 2021.
10"Women and Heart Disease Facts," Women's Heart Association.
11John League, "5 Questions about the Reality of Artificial Intelligence in Health Care," January 18, 2022.
About Abbott and the Abbott Fund
The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information, visit www.abbottfund.org.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's website at www.abbott.com.
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