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Black, Hispanic Children Less Likely to Receive Diagnostic Imaging in ED

Findings consistent when looking at nonhospitalized patients by insurance status or diagnostic category

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THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Hispanic children are less likely to receive diagnostic imaging during emergency department visits than White children, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Jennifer R. Marin, M.D., from UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and colleagues evaluated racial and ethnic differences in the performance of common emergency department imaging studies among patients (younger than 18 years) visiting 44 U.S. children's hospital emergency departments (2016 through 2019).

The researchers identified 13,087,522 emergency department visits by 6,230,911 children and adolescents (mean age, 5.8 years; 52.7 percent male). In just over one-quarter of visits, diagnostic imaging was performed (28.2 percent) but varied by race, with imaging performed in 33.5 percent of visits by non-Hispanic White patients versus 24.1 percent of visits by non-Hispanic Black patients (odds ratio [OR], 0.60) and 26.1 percent of visits by Hispanic patients (OR, 0.66). This pattern remained in an adjusted analysis (non-Hispanic Black: adjusted OR, 0.82; Hispanic: adjusted OR, 0.87, versus non-Hispanic White patients). Findings were similar when examining only visits by nonhospitalized patients (non-Hispanic Black: adjusted OR, 0.79; Hispanic: adjusted OR, 0.84). Consistent results persisted when stratifying by public and private insurance groups as well as diagnostic category.

"Something else is going on here that's beyond the clinical, that's beyond the diagnoses," Marin said in a statement. "Cultural factors that come with people's race, gender, religion, etc., should not be associated with testing when getting that test is clearly not beneficial to the patient and potentially harmful."

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