TACOMA, Wash. — A research study released by the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation and Washington State University that aimed to better understand health disparities during the pandemic found a related 49 percent decrease in breast cancer screenings in Washington state, of which there were several substantial health inequities in this decline.
Women of color, women living in rural areas, and women who self-paid for treatment and were on Medicaid experienced the biggest reduction in screenings. The number of urban women who completed their mammograms went down about 50 percent, while screenings for American Indian and Alaska Native women went down 61 percent and Hispanic women’s screenings decreased 64 percent.
The study suggests that there are additional barriers to screening due to the pandemic, including greater numbers of women unemployed and have less access to care without health insurance and increasing childcare commitments.
“Our goal through the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation is to learn how we can better deliver high-quality health care in every community that we serve, and identify and remove barriers to receiving care,” said Anne Reedy, vice president of research for MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation. “No matter where someone lives, or the challenges they face, every person deserves to receive care in an easily accessible way. Through studies like this, we can better understand the health needs of communities and how we can better reach them.”
The MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation works to improve the delivery of health care for patients by providing access to clinical trials. The study utilized state-wide patient data from MultiCare that removed any personally identifying information and covered patients from April 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020.
You can read more about the study at the Journal of American Medicine’s website and learn more about how MultiCare is improving access to care through research and clinical trials at www.multicare.org/research.