What is the Definition of Health Disparity?
According to the CDC disparities in health are defined as, “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.”
Those socially disadvantaged populations or health disparities are a result of a number of different factors, including the following:
- Socioeconomic status or income
- Race or ethnicity
- Sex or gender
- Geography: rural, urban, inner-city
- Sexual orientation
- Immigrant status
- Mental health status
- Educational inequalities
- Inadequate access to health care
- Lack of healthcare insurance
Health disparities are inequalities in one’s overall health or one’s access to healthcare most often linked to social, economic, environmental, and physical disadvantages. These inequalities contribute to higher counts of illness, mortality rates, disability burdens, poor health habits, and more frequent injuries than populations that do not face these disparities and disadvantages.
Persons Who are Blind or Who Have Low Vision Fall Into This Group
Health disparity or inequality applies to any group of individuals who are at a disadvantage to receiving the same quality of healthcare relative to another group of individuals.
People who are blind or who have low vision fall into this group. Obtaining transportation to medical appointments can be challenging. Another common challenge for people with low vision is obtaining patient forms, medical documents, care instructions, and medical bills in accessible formats made for individuals who are blind or who have low vision.
Baby boomers are aging quickly and there are roughly 60 million Americans today over the age of 65. Many of these individuals struggle with low vision and therefore have inadequate access to quality healthcare and do not have equal access to medical documents and online information that could improve their level of health.
People who are blind or who have low vision have less access to quality care which creates feelings of discrimination and exclusion among this population.
How Do We Create More Equality in Healthcare Accessibility?
Disparities in health are costly. Diseases and illnesses that are preventable with good health habits and better access to quality healthcare become costly treatments among disadvantaged populations.
In order to decrease the disparities in health the following areas need consideration:
- Greater accessibility to quality healthcare providers and medical documents
- Improved information technology access to disadvantaged populations
- Federal healthcare organizations committed to improving access to quality care for our most vulnerable populations
- The rising cost of healthcare and health insurance and the populations who cannot afford either
T-Base is committed to expanding healthcare accessibility to persons who are blind or who have low vision with greater website accessibility and by helping healthcare organizations create documents in accessible formats.