Study: HIEs reduce racial disparities in HIV care

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Clinicians' use of laboratory health information exchanges narrowed a gap in prescription filling rates between black and white HIV-positive patients, according to recent research out of UC Los Angeles.

The researchers — led by William E. Cunningham, MD, a medical researcher at UCLA — examined monthly anti-retroviral therapy use and prescription refills based on EMRs for 1,181 patients at a southern California HIV/AIDS clinic. They analyzed rates of anti-retroviral therapy use and viral suppression one year before and two years after the implementation of the laboratory HIE.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, determined black patients used anti-retroviral therapy roughly 25 percent less often than white patients at the beginning of the study. Similarly, black patients began the study with 25 percent lower rates of viral suppression. However, by the end of the study, the rates were equivalent between the two groups for both anti-retroviral therapy use and viral suppression.

Researchers concluded the "use of laboratory health information exchanges in HIV care can both improve [the] use of anti-retroviral therapy and viral suppression for all people living with HIV and reduce disparities between blacks and whites in HIV healthcare and outcomes," in part by improving continuity of care.

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