Dr. Elyse Watkins
Sickle cell disease (SCD) predominantly affects those in minority, low-income populations in the United States. Preventative care for those with SCD has shown considerable improvement in sickle cell outcomes. However, access to this comprehensive, preventative care is limited, as healthcare disparities and barriers to access in minority communities are well documented. A few barriers to access to proven preventative care include a shortage of SCD comprehensive treatment centers, lack of primary care provider knowledge, and the cost-effectiveness of treatment. By addressing these barriers to preventative care, sickle cell hospitalizations, complications, and deaths are likely to decrease significantly. In achieving these outcomes, the overall cost of care for these individuals could be reduced as well. Possible solutions to this issue include expanding primary care provider education, increasing access to specialists via telehealth, and a national surveillance system to strategically increase the number of comprehensive sickle cell centers. Given that this disease affects minorities at a significant rate, this inaccessibility is an issue of significant healthcare disparity, which must be addressed in order to ensure health equity for America’s more vulnerable populations.
Spry L. Effects of Reduced Access to Preventative Care on Sickle Cell Outcomes. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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