Insulin Pump Use in Children With Type 1 Diabetes: Over a Decade of Disparities

Abstract [from journal]

Purpose: Racial disparities have been shown in outcomes and treatment of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The purpose of this study was to examine temporal trends in insulin pump use among non-Hispanic white (NHW), non-Hispanic black (NHB) and Hispanic children attending a large urban diabetes center.

This study was a retrospective chart review of insulin pump usage by race (NHW/ NHB) in 2005, and race/ethnicity (NHW/NHB/Hispanic) in 2011–2019. Demographic data (age, sex, diabetes duration, SES) and most recent hemoglobin A1c were also abstracted in 2011–2019.

Results: In 2005, NHW children were twice as likely to use an insulin pump as NHB children. From 2011 to 2019, the odds ratio increased to 2.5 for NHW compared to NHB children. The odds of Hispanic children using insulin pumps were also higher than NHB. Insurance status (government versus private), a surrogate for SES, had very little influence on these trends, with NHW children consistently more likely than NHB children to be treated with insulin pumps in 2011, 2013, 2017, 2019 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: We have demonstrated that racial disparities in insulin pump use have persisted over the past 15 years, and are not determined by SES. This inequity in diabetes treatment may be playing a role in the poorer glycemic control and higher rates of diabetes complications in NHB children.

Practice implications: Healthcare providers should be cognizant of racial and ethnic disparities in the treatment of children with T1D. Standardized treatment protocols may reduce unconscious bias in prescribing.