People with disabilities have greater risk for experiencing healthcare disparities and differences in diagnoses, treatments and outcomes, according to research. Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives with a disability, but little attention has been paid to improving the quality of healthcare provided to disabled patients. A major factor has been inadequate identification of specific disabilities.
The study recommended that healthcare providers develop questions that capture the range of possible disabilities and produce actionable data, which can be used for developing quality improvement initiatives. Also, the authors suggested that involving persons with disabilities and their families in developing questions would help incorporate a broader perspective in which environmental and social factors are considered. This will help identify potential disparities. The authors concluded that pinpointing disparities in care for disabled patients would enable provider organizations to establish effective quality improvement initiatives and eliminate disability disparities.