HealthDay News — Intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals with large numbers of minority patients have shown little improvement in critical illness mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
John Danziger, M.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined temporal trends of critical care outcomes in minority-serving and non-minority-serving hospitals. Data were included for almost 1.1 million critically ill patients admitted to 208 ICUs between 2006 and 2016.
In minority-serving hospitals, large pluralities of African-Americans and Hispanics were cared for compared with few whites (25 and 48 versus 5.2 percent). The researchers found that the risk for critical illness mortality decreased by 2 percent per year during the last 10 years in non-minority-serving hospitals, but there was no comparable improvement in outcomes within minority-serving hospitals. This disparity was particularly noticeable among African-Americans. Each additional calendar year associated with a 3 percent lower adjusted critical illness mortality in non-minority-serving hospitals, while no change was seen in minority-serving hospitals. Similar findings were seen for ICU and hospital lengths of stay.
“The observation that large numbers of critically ill minorities are cared for in poorer performing ICUs gives us an important target for focused research efforts and additional resources to help close the health care divide amongst different minorities in the United States,” Danziger said in a statement.
One author disclosed financial ties to Philips Healthcare.