JointHealth™ express   November 24, 2022

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) conducted a 33-question online Survey in English and French, in partnership with Research Co., a public polling firm, to determine health inequities faced by people living with arthritis. Respondents across Canada answered questions regarding population characteristics, access to care, interactions with health care providers, topics discussed with rheumatologist, discrimination and information seeking habits.

Read and share the Survey findings and infographic.

Survey analysis was conducted to compare the experience of:
  • Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) respondents versus white respondents
  • Rural respondents versus non-rural respondents
  • Women versus men vs non-binary respondents

A total of 1,249 responses were received. A quarter of respondents identified as BIPOC, and three quarters of respondents identified as white. 3 in 5 respondents identified as women, 2 in 5 as men, and 1 in 100 as non-binary. Approximately half of the respondents live in large urban centres with populations of 100,000 or more.

Access to Care
  • Compared to white respondents, BIPOC reported greater barriers to accessing care including time (40%), travel (31%), previous unpleasant experiences (21%), language (20%), and competing priorities (19%).
  • Women reported greater barriers than men including travel (29% vs 19%), and previous unpleasant experiences (18% vs 10%).
  • Respondents living in rural areas experienced even greater travel related barriers. Indigenous peoples who resided in rural communities experience the greatest challenge.
Interactions with health care providers
  • BIPOC respondents reported favoring HCPs with the same racial background, gender, or generation.
Topics discussed with rheumatologists
  • BIPOC respondents were less comfortable speaking with their rheumatologist about discomfort (29%) and medications (24%), when compared to white respondents
  • Only one quarter of men reported being comfortable asking their rheumatologists about discomfort (27%), and a third (35%) about pain, and a fifth about medication (21%). In addition, less than 16% of male respondents were comfortable speaking to rheumatologists about anxiety and depression.
  • BIPOC respondents were six times as likely to report having experienced ethnicity-based discrimination “often” (13%), when compared to white respondents (2%).
  • Results were even more pronounced for Indigenous Peoples who face discrimination “often” based on ethnicity (25% vs 2%), gender (21% vs 5%), and sexual orientation (15% vs 2%).
Information seeking habits
  • BIPOC respondents more often turned to family, friends, coworkers, traditional healers, and elders for health information when compared to white respondents.
  • Black (55%), Indigenous (54%) and POC (43%) respondents were more likely to find online information to be “helpful” and all preferred resources recommended by family and close friends with culturally sensitive content. However, less BIPOC (51%) viewed official public health websites as trustworthy in contrast with white respondents (66%).
Key Takeaway

ACE’s National Survey findings suggest that BIPOC respondents face significantly greater barriers when accessing arthritis care, and when they do, benefit less from their interactions. ACE’s Survey results further reinforce current health literature that calls for training HCPs to create safe spaces, meaningfully address patient concerns, and ensure the delivery of equitable care.