Multiple Myeloma Hospitalization Outcomes Differ by Race or Ethnicity

A recent study has identified racial/ethnic disparities for multiple hospitalization outcomes among patients with multiple myeloma (MM).

For example, compared with white patients, those who were Black, Hispanic, and other races/ethnicities were found to have higher total hospital charges. Black patients were also found to have longer length of stay compared with white counterparts.

The study, published as a Letter to the Editor in Hematological Oncology, included data on 66,069 patients with MM; 63.6% were white, 22.2% were Black, 8.4% were Hispanic, and 5.7% identified as another race/ethnicity

The researchers assessed patient disposition, type of admission, length of stay, and total hospital charges using National Inpatient Sample (NIS) data collected from 2016 to 2018. There was no difference between race/ethnicity and in-hospital mortality versus routine discharge.

Overall, the majority of patients were admitted non-electively into urban teaching hospitals. More than half had routine discharge and a length of stay of 5 days or less.

Hispanic patients were found to have 16% lower likelihood of discharge to a facility/home with health care compared with white counterparts. The researchers noted that a “possible explanation for this is described in single-center analysis that found Hispanic [patients] getting diagnosed with multiple myeloma at a younger age than white [patients].”

There was a lower likelihood of elective admission to the hospital for both Black patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=0.79; 95% CI, 0.74-0.85) and Hispanic patients (AOR=0.83; 95% CI, 0.74-0.94).

“There is no clear reason why these should differ by race/ethnicity,” the researchers wrote.

Black patients also had 1.1 times higher odds of a hospital stay longer than 5 days compared with white counterparts.

On average, Black patients had a total charge that was $5,712 higher compared with white patients. Hispanic patients had a total charge $13,334 higher than their white counterparts. Patients who identified as “other race” had $17,971 higher total costs compared with whites.

“A lot of this can be explained by issues related to poor health care access and engaging in health care late or through the emergency department due to lack of insurance,” the researchers wrote.

Overall the study researchers concluded that findings from the study point to a “need for an improvement in the US healthcare system with a shift towards a focus on prevention to improve health and reduce healthcare costs of the minority population.”