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Socioeconomic Status And Acute Stroke Care: Has The Inequality Gap Been Closed?

Authors Hyldgård VB, Johnsen SP, Støvring H, Søgaard R

Received 4 June 2019

Accepted for publication 27 September 2019

Published 23 October 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 933—941


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Irene Petersen

Vibe Bolvig Hyldgård,1,2 Søren Paaske Johnsen,3 Henrik Støvring,4 Rikke Søgaard1,5

1Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus C 8000, Denmark; 2Health Economics, DEFACTUM, Central Region Denmark, Aarhus N 8200, Denmark; 3Danish Center for Clinical Health Services Research, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg 9000, Denmark; 4Department of Public Health - Biostatistics, Aarhus University, Aarhus C 8000, Denmark; 5Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus N 8200, Denmark

Correspondence: Vibe Bolvig Hyldgård
Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus C 8000, Denmark
Tel +4531191504
Fax +4578414029

Purpose: Socioeconomic inequality in stroke care occurs even in countries with free access to health care. We aimed to investigate the association between socioeconomic status and guideline-recommended acute care in Denmark during the last decade.
Design: We conducted a nationwide, population-based study. We used household income, employment status, and education as markers of socioeconomic status and adjusted the results for relevant clinical covariates. We used weighted linear regression models to analyse empirical log odds of performance measure fulfillment at patient level.
Setting: Public hospitals in Denmark.
Participants: A total of 110,848 consecutive stroke patients discharged between 2004 and 2014.
Intervention(s): Acute stroke care according to clinical guidelines.
Main outcome measure(s): Guideline-recommended care was defined in two ways based on clinical performance measures: the percentage of fulfilled measures used throughout the study period (m=8) (model 1) and the percentage of fulfilled measures used at the time of discharge (m=8 to 16) (model 2).
Results: Compared with high family income, low income was negatively associated with the guideline-recommended care; odds ratios (95% CI) were 0.89 (0.85–0.93) in model 1 and 0.81 (0.77–0.85) in model 2. Low family income was negatively associated with fulfillment of 14 of the 16 performance measures. In general, the percentage of performance measures fulfilled increased over time from 70% (95% CI 63–76) to 85% (95% CI 83–87).
Conclusion: Socioeconomic inequality in guideline-recommended stroke care remains despite overall improvements in a setting with free access to care and systematic monitoring of health care quality.

Keywords: quality of care, access to care, health inequality, stroke

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