Race and socioeconomic status (SES) significantly affect the content and delivery of healthcare for multiple chronic disease states. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a set of complex, chronic diseases with the potential for significant morbidity if the content or delivery of healthcare is suboptimal. However, the literature related to race, SES, and IBD remains fragmented.
Using guidelines published by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, we performed a systematic review of the world's literature to identify studies related to: 1) IBD, 2) race/ethnicity, 3) SES, 4) healthcare delivery, and 5) healthcare effectiveness.
We identified 40 studies that met inclusion criteria. Twenty-four studies (60%) assessed the role of SES and 21 (53%) evaluated race. Topics addressed by these studies included: 1) Utilization of Medical and Surgical Therapy; 2) Adherence to Medical Therapy; 3) Clinical Outcomes; 4) Healthcare Access and Utilization; 5) Disease Perception and Knowledge; and 6) Employment/Insurance. We identified race- and SES-based disparities in the content of medical and surgical healthcare, utilization of inpatient and ambulatory medical care, adherence to medical therapy, and disease perceptions and knowledge. Several studies also identified race- and SES-based disparities in outcomes for IBD, including in-hospital mortality rates and health-related quality of life.
Race- and SES-based disparities in the delivery and effectiveness of healthcare for patients with IBD exist in numerous domains, yet studies remain limited in their scope and breadth. Concerted, prospective, multicenter efforts are needed to address underlying causes for disparities and to identify methods of reducing and eliminating disparities. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012;)