Manali I. Patel, MD, MPH, MS
In a presentation that followed the discussion of symptom self-management,1 Manali I. Patel, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, emphasized the need to improve symptom management in diverse populations.
“We’ve had more than 60 years of documented disparities in symptom screening and interventions among racial and ethnic minority populations, as well as individuals from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, but we also have very effective interventions if they are done proactively,” said Dr. Patel. “We’ve had novel advancements using electronic patient-reported outcomes, but with every advancement, whether in medicine or in life, we may inadvertently widen disparities.”
According to Dr. Patel, providers should be guided by the aim of health equity and consider equity in all policies, whether clinical or governmental. There are effective solutions for symptom management, but one size does not fit all, said Dr. Patel, who noted that 12% of people living in poverty do not own a smartphone, and 55% of older adults cannot use the Internet.
“Plugging and chugging what works in one setting doesn’t always work in others,” said Dr. Patel. “Health equity is local.”
“Even if billed as ‘simple’, access isn’t enough,” Dr. Patel continued. “You must ensure that all materials, including your electronic health record portals, are available in the languages your patients seek, with a literacy component that meets your patients’ needs.”
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Patel reported no conflicts of interest.
1. Patel MI: Multimodal and multicomponent interventions to improve symptom control and care delivery in diverse populations. 2022 ASCO Quality Care Symposium. Presented September 30, 2022.
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