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Race/ethnicity, and Americans' perceptions and experiences of over- and under-use of care: a cross-sectional study.

Kressin NR, Lin MY. Race/ethnicity, and Americans' perceptions and experiences of over- and under-use of care: a cross-sectional study. BMC health services research. 2015 Oct 1; 15:443.

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BACKGROUND: Despite widespread documentation of racial/ethnic disparities in care (predominantly under-use of needed care), differences in population-wide attitudes or experiences about under- or overuse (care where harms may outweigh potential benefits) of care are not well understood. We examined whether race/ethnicity is associated with perceptions or experiences of overuse or underuse. METHODS: We conducted secondary analysis of a cross-sectional national telephone survey of nationally representative sample of 1238 American adults; 57.9 % female, 75.4 % Non-Hispanic White, 11.8 % Non-Hispanic Black, 10.1 % Hispanic. The main outcome measures are general perceptions and personal experiences of overuse and underuse, including cost-related dimensions of each. RESULTS: Bivariate results indicated that respondents of minority race/ethnicity generally viewed both overuse and underuse as bigger problems than did Whites, and reported more personal experiences of each. After adjustment, Hispanics were less likely than Whites to report personal experiences of overuse (odds ratio [OR] [95 % CI], 0.44 [0.23 to 0.86]), while Blacks and Others were more likely to report cost-related overuse (ORs [95 % CIs], 4.16 [2.30 to 7.51]; 3.55 [1.52 to 8.28], respectively). Non-Hispanic Others more often reported doctors'' protection from overuse (OR [95 % CI], 3.69 [1.75 to 7.78]). General concerns with underuse were more frequent among Blacks and Hispanics (ORs [95 % CIs], 3.07 [1.72 to 5.54]; 2.12 [1.24 to 3.61] respectively), while Others reported significantly fewer concerns (OR [95 % CI], 0.43 [0.23 to 0.80]). CONCLUSIONS: Over- and underuse of medical care are important problems for many Americans, and experiences vary by race/ethnicity. Clinician communication and educational campaigns about appropriateness of care may need tailoring for varying population groups.

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