"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

Report: Health Disparities Still Plague Minorities Across Minnesota

Todd Wilson
Updated: 02/10/2016 7:21 PM
Created: 02/10/2016 6:41 PM

The health care experience for people of color in Minnesota is different from the experience of white Minnesotans.

This fact is backed up by data in the 2015 Health Equity of Care report just released by MN Community Measurement.

The report states nothing much has changed, even with the efforts of clinics across the state.

Jim Chase of MN Community Measurement says minority groups continue to fare worse as patients in greater Minnesota. They have poorer health care overall compared to metro-area patients.

“Is a language barrier an example where if you have a different language that might be an issue? Different places where your family comes from might affect you. And so, the clinician knowing about that can really help to say things and present things in a way that helps you get the best care,” he said.

Fairview Health Services is one of a number of clinics trying to close the gap on health care disparities.

“The gratification is we got to help more people and begin to chip away where there was a disparity that shouldn’t be there,” Dr. Patrick Hershon said.

Hershon said one way they tackled this problem was through screening tests. They found the number of minorities getting screened for things like colon cancer was lower than it is for white patients.

“Regardless of what condition is we’ve developed some tools within our electronic medical records to highlight where there’s a gap for somebody,” he said.

Overall, the report is designed to help groups learn what they can do to make sure patients get the best outcome from the care they are offered.