Do race and gender affect quality of pain management?

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A study published in the August issue of the Journal of Pain reports that assessment and treatment of chronic pain in primary care settings may be less than ideal for black and female (50 and younger) patients. According to Carmen Green, MD, and Tamera Hart-Johnson, MS, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, black patients received fewer pain medications than whites (P=0.03), although most study participants did received adequate pain management. Furthermore, black patients reported greater suffering from pain, lessened vitality and had poorer scores on the role-emotion scale of Short Form-36, three of seven areas of the “Pain Disability Index.” “To our knowledge, this is the first study in young ethnically diverse men and women to provide evidence for inconsistencies and disparities in pain management based upon gender and race prior to initial assessment at a tertiary care pain center… when considering the high pain severity, disability, and duration, as well as its toll on the individual and society, this study demonstrates the need for additional research to facilitate successful primary care interventions to improve the quality of pain care, if we are to reduce and eliminate disparities,” the researchers wrote. Click here to read an article from The Medical News that discusses this study more.

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