Black Race and Public Insurance Are Predictive of Inappropriate Evaluation of Iron Deficiency Anemia and Diarrhea

Dig Dis Sci. 2021 Jul;66(7):2200-2206. doi: 10.1007/s10620-020-06434-9. Epub 2020 Jul 7.


Background and aims: Socioeconomic status, race, and insurance can impact healthcare delivery and utilization in several chronic disease states. The primary aim of our study was to determine whether race and insurance status are predictors of having an appropriate workup for celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) when presenting with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and chronic diarrhea.

Methods: Medical records of patients seen at the University of Chicago Medical Center between January 1, 2006, and September 20, 2017, were reviewed. Patients with two separate encounters within 6 months associated with the diagnosis codes for both IDA and chronic diarrhea were identified. Patients without a diagnosis code for IBD and celiac disease were further grouped as those that had an "appropriate" workup and those that did not. Factors associated with the appropriate evaluation were analyzed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: In total, 899,701 records were searched. A total of 83 patients fit inclusion into the study (8 IBD, 3 CD, 72 neither IBD or CD). Black race was associated with a 91% decreased odds of having the appropriate workup on univariate (OR 0.090, 95%CI 0.017-0.475, p = 0.005) and age-adjusted multivariate analysis (OR 0.095, 95% CI 0.017-0.527, p = 0.007). Public insurance status was significantly associated with a 90% decreased odds of appropriate workup on univariate (OR 0.102, 95% CI 0.024-0.438, p = 0.002) and age-adjusted multivariate analysis (OR 0.104, 95% CI 0.021-0.513, p = 0.005).

Conclusions: Black race and public insurance were significantly associated with not having an appropriate workup for IBD and celiac disease when presenting with iron deficiency and chronic diarrhea.

Keywords: Black; Celiac disease; Health disparity; Inflammatory bowel disease; Race.