Mapping the concept of vulnerability related to health care disparities: A scoping review

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Background: The aim of this paper is to share the results of a scoping review that examined the relationship between health care disparities and the multiplicity of vulnerability factors that are often clustered together. Methods. The conceptual framework used was an innovative dynamic model that we developed to analyze the co-existence of multiple vulnerability factors (multi-vulnerability) related to the phenomenon of the 'Inverse Care Law'. A total of 759 candidate references were identified through a literature search, of which 23 publications were deemed relevant to our scoping review. Results: The review confirmed our hypothesis of a direct correlation between co-existing vulnerability factors and health care disparities. Several gaps in the literature were identified, such as a lack of research on vulnerable populations' perception of their own vulnerability and on multimorbidity and immigrant status as aspects of vulnerability. Conclusions: Future research addressing the revealed gaps would help foster primary care interventions that are responsive to the needs of vulnerable people and, eventually, contribute to the reduction of health care disparities in society. © 2013 Grabovschi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Grabovschi, C., Loignon, C., & Fortin, M. (2013). Mapping the concept of vulnerability related to health care disparities: A scoping review. BMC Health Services Research, 13(1).

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