Post Hoc Analysis of Automated Early Warning System Alert Linked to End-of-Life Discussions—Is There a Racial Disparity in Effectiveness?
Knowing that racial disparities pervade numerous aspects and disciplines of EOL care, combined with these findings presented by Picker et al (1), has lead me to wonder whether automated early warning system alerts are equally effective at stimulating palliative care discussions in African-Americans and Caucasians (1–5). If possible, I implore the authors to conduct a post hoc analysis to compare the effectiveness of their intervention between these two races. I believe that the findings of this investigation, whether significant or not, would add invaluable knowledge to the ever-evolving field of racial disparities in EOL care research.
For decades, racial disparities in EOL care have been a core topic of research (2–5). Unfortunately, most investigators repeatedly report significant African-American disparities in EOL care, with African-Americans being less likely to prefer hospice or palliative care (2–5). I want to commend Picker et al (1) for their well-written, clearly presented, and uplifting report of a promising intervention that could increase palliative care discussions in patients at the EOLs (1). My hope is that the researchers heed my suggestion and use their unique dataset to illuminate any potential racial disparities that may be present. By doing this, the authors can cast additional light on potential racial disparities in palliative care discussions so that all patients, regardless of race, can be equally informed.