Objective: To examine ethnic disparities in the quality of diabetes care among adults with diabetes in the US through a systematic qualitative review.
Data sources: Material published in the English language was searched from 1993 through June 2003 using PubMed, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, the Cochrane Library, Combined Health Information Database, and Education Resources Information Center.
Study selection and data extraction: Studies of patients with diabetes in which at least 50% of study participants were ethnic minorities and studies that made ethnic group comparisons were eligible. Research on individuals having prediabetes, those <18 years of age, or women with gestational diabetes were excluded. Reviewers used a reproducible search strategy. A standardized abstraction and grading of articles for publication source and content were used. Data on glycemia, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were extracted in patients with diabetes. A total of 390 studies were reviewed, with 78 meeting inclusion criteria.
Data synthesis: Ethnic minorities had poorer outcomes of care than non-Hispanic whites. These disparities were most pronounced for glycemic control and least evident for LDL-C control. Most studies showed blood pressure to be poorly controlled among ethnic minorities.
Conclusions: Control of risk factors for diabetes (glycemia, blood pressure, LDL-C) is challenging and requires routine assessment. These findings indicate that additional efforts are needed to promote diabetes quality of care among minority populations.