Duke's health innovation institute targets racial disparities

At Duke University's Duke Institute for Health Innovation, a group of researchers created an algorithm designed to pinpoint individuals with peripheral artery disease by analyzing diagnosis codes and their medical histories, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 24. 

The algorithm utilizes a dataset that encompasses a significant proportion of Black patients and, when tested in a preliminary program, allowed PAD specialists to detect new patients and update the status of existing ones, prioritizing high-risk patients with upcoming medical appointments. 

The prioritization allowed specialists to offer recommendations to these high-risk patients' primary care providers.

Mark Sendak, MD, population health and data science lead for Durham, N.C.-based Duke's innovation institute, told the publication that the primary goal of this initiative is to reduce the racial disparities in both PAD diagnoses and healthcare.

According to Dr. Sendak, by identifying those biases, "we can alter the process and remove barriers to diagnosis."

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