Racial disparities of delay in diagnosis and dermatologic care for hidradenitis suppurativa


Aurora Medical Group


Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, debilitating skin disease that disproportionately affects African Americans, and care-related factors may contribute to this disparity. In this study, we investigated delay in diagnosis and dermatologic care for HS at an urban Midwestern Academic Center. A retrospective chart review of 1,190 patients with 3 or more encounters for HS between 1/1/2002 and 3/19/2019 was conducted. A total of 953 patients were included in statistical analysis. A mean (standard deviation) delay in diagnosis was 4.1 ± 7.0 years. For white patients the delay in diagnosis was 3.2 ± 6.3 years, for Black patients 4.8 ± 7.0 years, for Hispanic patients 4.7 ± 5.8 years, and for other races 4.9 ± 7.4 years (p <0.001). Among the 932 patients with known specialist visit types, 500 (53.6%) had seen dermatology including 222 (47.8%) of Black patients, 242 (59.5%) of white patients, 24 (64.9%) of Hispanic patients, and 12 (50%) patients of other races (p=0.003).White patients and Hispanic patients saw a dermatologist an average of 3.0 years after first presentation of HS and Black patients saw a dermatologist on average 5.0 years after first presentation (p=0.004). Of the patients who did see dermatology, 44.9% of Black patients, 31.6% of white patients, 23.1% of Hispanic patients, and 30.8% of other races saw surgery before dermatology (p<.001). Our results indicate that non-white patients have a longer delay in diagnosis than their white counterparts and that Black patients do not see dermatology as early in their disease course as other racial groups. Black patients also see surgery more often than white patients before seeing dermatology, which could suggest greater disease severity at presentation and diagnosis or difficult access to dermatology.

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