Black Women Have Less Access to Newer Mammogram Technology

From 2005 to 2020, Black women had less access to new mammographic imaging technology compared with White women in the Medicare population, according to a study published online Oct. 11 in Radiology.

Eric W. Christensen, Ph.D., from the Neiman Health Policy Institute in Reston, Virginia, and colleagues examined the relationship between use of newer mammographic technology and race in women receiving mammography services in a retrospective study of women aged 40 to 89 years with Medicare fee-for-service insurance between January 2005 and December 2020. A total of 4,028,696 institutional mammography claims for women were included between 2005 and 2020.

The researchers found that the odds ratio of Black versus White women receiving digital mammography rather than screen-film mammography in 2005 was 0.80 within an institution; these differences persisted until 2009. The use of digital breast tomosynthesis within an institution was less likely for Black versus White women from 2015 to 2020 (odds ratio, 0.84). Racial differences were seen in digital mammography use across institutions, which followed a U-shaped pattern; the differences peaked at 3.8 percentage points less for Black versus White women in 2011 and decreased to a difference of 1.2 percentage points less in 2016.

“We found evidence of racial differences in the years following the introduction of newer mammographic technology,” the authors write. “Advocacy for favorable reimbursement and incentive policies may diminish these differences if kept apace of evolving technologies.”

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