Aug 25, 2023



10 Essential DEI Facts Healthcare Marketers Need to Know

To provide the best possible care for a diverse patient pool, healthcare professionals need to stay up to date with factors and trends that influence patients’ lives. Below, we’re sharing top DEI statistics to keep you informed and help you foster inclusivity.

Finding the right doctor and treatment plan can be frustrating when your symptoms are downplayed or incorrectly diagnosed. Everyone deserves doctors who understand how race, ethnicity, gender, and culture are linked to health, especially since patients risk delaying potentially life-saving preventive care when they encounter doctors who do not fully understand their experiences. This is particularly true for historically marginalized groups like BIPOC1 consumers, LGBTQ+2 individuals, and women.

Early detection remains critical to staying healthy and limiting the worsening progression of symptoms. But we continue to see both explicit and unintentional bias in healthcare—and the effects can be devastating. As such, one essential aspect that continuously demands our attention is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As we strive to expand access by creating a more inclusive and accessible healthcare ecosystem, understanding the key statistics surrounding DEI—and knowing what to do with the information—is paramount. We’re sharing 10 DEI healthcare facts to inform and help hospital and pharma marketing professionals reach every kind of patient effectively.

10 DEI Healthcare Facts You Need to Know

1. 29% of LGBTQ+ people feel dismissed or not taken seriously by their doctor.

According to a joint research study by Healthgrades and OutCare Health, the nation’s most comprehensive resource for LGBTQ+ health equity, LGBTQ+ individuals are far more likely to experience medical gaslighting, trauma, or discrimination than cisgender, heterosexual people. About 29% reported feeling dismissed or that they weren’t being taken seriously by their doctor when talking about health concerns or symptoms—and they were 142% more likely to feel that way compared to cisgender, heterosexual individuals. And when patients have poor experiences with their doctors, it can negatively influence their future healthcare decisions. In fact, members of LGBTQ+ communities are twice as likely as cisgender, heterosexual individuals to avoid a health screening due to a past negative experience. 

2. 55% of women skipped or delayed preventative care last year.

Our studies also show that more than 50% of women reported that they skipped or delayed preventive care in the previous year, with cost concerns leading as the top reason. Other common factors include forgetting to schedule appointments (19%), fearing bad news or doctors finding a health problem (16%), feeling that their health concern or symptom is not severe enough (16%), and inconvenient hours or availability (16%). However, there is good news. Women are aware of the necessary health screenings for their age groups—they just need a little nudge toward action. If hospital and pharma marketers can find ways to address such obstacles to care, they can encourage patients to take actionable steps toward their health.

3. 70% of Black adults feel the medical system unfairly discriminates against them.

In a recent Healthgrades study, 25% of Black respondents reported that doctors hadn’t taken their pain seriously in the past. This research corroborates a finding from a 20-year University of Pennsylvania study—Black patients are 22% less likely than white patients to receive sufficient pain management treatment. This discrepancy is due to a long-held stereotype that Black people have a higher pain tolerance and contributes to the 70% of Black adults who feel the medical system unfairly discriminates against them because of their racial and ethnic background.

4. Almost 60% of Hispanic adults have had issues communicating with their doctor due to language or cultural barriers.

Employing a diverse medical staff has never been more critical. A study conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that six in 10 Hispanic adults in the U.S. said they had difficulty communicating with a healthcare professional due to language or cultural barriers. While half turned to a family member to translate, more than 25% needed an outside translator, public resources, or online sources for help.

5. 53% of BIPOC consumers are visiting healthcare professionals more or as often as they were before the pandemic compared to white patients.

COVID-19 has changed how many individuals perceive their health, especially BIPOC people, who are 53% more likely than white patients to visit their doctor somewhat or a lot more often than before the pandemic. Compared to white consumers, members of the BIPOC community are more aware of their specific health risks (73% vs. 65% among white consumers) and report feeling more informed about their health (63% vs. 55% among white consumers). This heightened awareness also extends to emotional and mental health considerations and makes this audience ready for engagement. Here’s how you can put your health system in front of these consumers who are searching for care.

6. 48% of women prioritize a doctor who listens to them.

Trust, understanding, and transparency are essential considerations when women seek healthcare. Nearly half of the women who responded to our Women’s Health 2023 survey said the most important factor in their satisfaction with their primary care doctor was whether the doctor listened to them, compared to 36% of men who felt the same way. While men and women expressed the same level of needing to be able to trust their doctor’s treatment decisions, 38% of women prioritized whether doctors could answer their questions compared to 30% of men.

7. Proper LGBTQ+ education requires 35 hours of class and in-field experience.

While 85% of doctors consider themselves ready to care for patients with diverse gender identities or sexual orientations, they only scored an average of 51% in competency on health questions related to LGBTQ+ patients, according to a study by OutCare Health. Proper LGBTQ+ education requires 35 hours or more of field experience and in-class learning. However, with the national average curriculum hours topping at two hours annually, doctors barely scratch the surface of what it takes to feel confident and ready to care for LGBTQ+ patients in the way they expect and deserve.

In addition, traditional medical training is primarily based on studies conducted on cisgender, heterosexual white men, meaning that diagnostic guidelines and treatment advice do not always apply to patients with diverse backgrounds and health histories. As such, even well-intentioned doctors may have education gaps when it comes to LGBTQ+-affirming care.

8. In 2022, only 8% of full-time medical school faculty in the U.S. were Black, and 7.1% were Hispanic.

Treatment outcomes remain inconsistent across racial and ethnic groups, and while hiring diverse medical professionals to teach the next generation can partially remedy this problem, Black and Hispanic medical school faculty made up only 15.1% of full-time medical school faculty in this country as of 2022, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Similarly, the representation of these groups in medical school enrollees is disproportionately low, with only 10% identifying as Black and 12% as Hispanic. While numbers are slowly rising, this disparity highlights the inadequate representation of BIPOC individuals in the upcoming generation of medical professionals. As such, it’s important to highlight your diverse healthcare professionals and ensure your content and marketing messages address diverse audiences and voices.

9. 67% of all women are primary managers of healthcare tasks in their households.

Our research for the Women’s Health 2023 Special Report demonstrated that women are the primary decision-makers and managers when it comes to household healthcare. When children are present in the household, women (70%) tend to step up even more than men (31%) to be the healthcare leaders of the home. Women often schedule appointments, collect prescriptions or medical supplies, review and complete appointment guides, and select primary care physicians and specialists for their family members. As such, pharma and healthcare marketers can focus their messaging efforts on these healthcare decision-makers and reduce barriers to booking for them.

10. High healthcare costs prevent 43% of LGBTQ+ adults from receiving the best possible care.

The cost of healthcare can be prohibitive across the board. Still, almost half of LGBTQ+ adults say high healthcare costs prevent them from receiving quality care compared to 34% of cisgender, heterosexual adults. Further, nearly a quarter of LGBTQ+ people lack health insurance, which deters them from seeking healthcare.

Fostering an inclusive environment for all

Pharma and hospital marketers can show their commitment to DEI by implementing various strategies that consider social determinants of health. Here are our recommendations for addressing the unique needs of diverse patient populations.

Highlight diversity with DEI initiatives.

Representation matters, and elevating historically underrepresented communities in editorial content and marketing campaigns is crucial.

Extend DEI initiatives to the content marketing team with guidelines focusing on conscious editorial language, culturally relevant topics, and diverse ad casting. In addition, making materials available in different languages and promoting language services ensure accessibility to diverse populations, especially as Chinese is the third most spoken language in the United States, and Hispanic people represent 19.1% of the U.S. population.

Emphasize the importance of patient reviews in your health system.

Patient reviews play a significant role in the decision-making process for many individuals. In fact, 81% of women and 80% of BIPOC patients read online reviews before scheduling an appointment. As such, pharma and healthcare marketers should strive to provide seamless access to online reviews and highlight affirming doctors who provide high-quality care. 

Bonus: Patient reviews don’t just help healthcare consumers find the best care for them—physicians also value first-hand accounts from other patients to inform their referral decisions.

Demystify treatment cost information.

Many patient groups share cost concerns. For instance, nearly a quarter of LGBTQ+ people said a lack of health insurance deterred them from getting high-quality care, and about one in three women delayed or avoided medical care due to high out-of-pocket expenses. Your health system can empower patients to seek care by providing price transparency on your website, including treatment cost information, a list of accepted health insurance programs, and referrals to discount prescription sites. Moreover, hospital price transparency laws require health systems to provide patients with financial costs associated with all healthcare services, and pharma marketers can follow suit by showing consumers that high-quality care is within their financial reach. 

Consider and address how some conditions disproportionately affect certain groups.

When crafting targeted healthcare campaigns, consider how certain conditions disproportionately affect specific racial and ethnic groups and destigmatize conversations around them. For example, consider the following:

  • Black women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids
  • LGBTQ+ people are three times more likely to skip a health appointment due to poor mental health than heterosexual, cisgender patients
  • 75% of women report experiencing symptoms during the perimenopausal stage 

By ignoring or shying away from addressing how specific conditions impact different populations, you risk alienating your patient base and pushing them further from quality care. Instead, providing materials and treatment information in the relevant social contexts for these conditions demonstrates subject matter expertise while positioning your brand as a champion of inclusivity in healthcare. 

Commitment to DEI Enhances Quality of Care

Healthgrades is dedicated to empowering stronger and more meaningful connections between patients and healthcare professionals. As the #1 platform for finding a doctor and as a leader in healthcare transparency, we help millions of consumers each month find and schedule appointments with their healthcare professional of choice and prepare for their appointments with best-in-class, treatment-focused content.

But our purpose extends beyond consumers—we connect hospital and pharma advertisers with qualified patients right before they see a doctor and begin treatment. Creating more meaningful doctor-patient connections starts with helping patients easily access inclusive condition information or find specialists who will consider a patient’s background when creating a treatment plan or prescribing medication.

For Health Systems Marketers

Help Establish More Robust Doctor-Patient Relationships 

Reach patients just before they’re ready to appoint with our advertising solutions. Healthgrades allows you to tap into the largest audience of commercially-insured consumers searching for care online. Ensure more prospects see your health system first with prominent branding and calls to action on physician search results pages and doctor profiles. Our competitive intercept feature also redirects opportunities away from your competition by showing alternative options from your health system on competing provider profiles. We guarantee conversions, helping you minimize investment risk while stretching your ad dollars.

For Pharma Advertisers

Expand New Treatment Options (and Better Care) to All Patients

Guide low-funnel patients to the care they need by connecting with them when they’re deeply engaged in treatment-oriented content. Our Guided Physician Search tool, which can be fully integrated into our content and your as part of your program, helps consumers find specialists when your brand is top of mind, empowering them to make appointments right then and there. 

Take action toward inclusive healthcare today. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you make life-changing connections with all patients for better health outcomes.

1 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
2 People who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and all sexual and gender minorities