Accessing neuromodulation: Race and ethnicity “should not cloud treatment options” for pain patients


Stephanie Vanterpool (Knoxville, USA) talks to NeuroNews about how outreach can be used to address the disparities between white and underrepresented minority patients when it comes to accessing neuromodulation therapies.

A recent study, which looked at 1.2 million patients with chronic pain or post laminectomy syndrome from the Center for Medicare Services database, found that those from underrepresented minorities were “significantly less likely” to receive spinal cord stimulation than white patients, says Vanterpool, who adds that this held true “even when matched for clinical and economic factors”.

Vanterpool states that spinal cord stimulation is a “life-changing” treatment option that can “improve function and quality of life”. She also discusses the aim of outreach for pain patients, the role providers can play and outlines the work of the Targeted Pain Treatment Conference, March 5, 2021.

Vanterpool explains how clinicians can help combat their unconscious biases when it comes to race and ethnicity, outlining the importance of not “treating the outward appearance of the patient” but rather focusing on “ensuring that we have an accurate diagnosis” and “using evidence-based treatment”. It is important to “not allow race and ethnicity to cloud our treatment options for these patients”, she adds.


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