Friday, May 24, 2024

Study Shows Hispanics Less Likely to Get Care they Need in Emergency Rooms

A study published last month in the journal of Academic Emergency Medicine says that despite displaying the same symptoms, Hispanics and Blacks who show up at emergency rooms with chest pain are less likely than whites to get the care they need.

“Emergency room triage is the critical step that determines the whole cascade of clinical decisions and testing that happens next,” Lenny Lopez, of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study, said.  ”So if patients are misclassified on arrival, they won’t receive the care they need when they need it.”

Even though the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines call for patients who present chest pain to undergo immediate electrocardiograms, Hispanics may not always receive this treatment since they were significantly less likely than white patients to be triaged as “emergent.”

An “emergent triage” was defined by researchers in the study as a patient who needed to be seen immediately versus those who could wait 15 to 60 minutes.

Lopez says this type of miscalculation could have severe consequences on a patient’s well-being and every single patient should be assessed with a “focus on 100 percent guideline-driven triage management.”

“If you’re misclassified at the first step, you’re less likely to get the ECG, because your condition is not considered urgent,” Lopez pointed out.  “In the long term, you may suffer an even more severe heart attack that could have been prevented had an intervention occurred earlier.”
Fierce Healthcare