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Total Joint Arthroplasty Direct-to-Consumer Advertising by Medical Device Companies Lacks Patient Diversity

June 13, 2022

Journal: American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

Who: Kelsey A. Rankin, BA; Anchal Bahel; Akshay Khunte; Robert J. Oris, BS; Mary I. O'Connor, MD; Daniel H. Wiznia, MD

Overview: Obese and African American populations suffer from higher incidence of hip and knee osteoarthritis, yet African Americans are less likely to undergo total hip and knee arthroplasty (TJA). Patient interest in TJA is a necessary first step for surgery. Medical device company direct-to-consumer advertising for TJA represents 1 potential factor driving disparities in utilization. The authors analyze demographics of models represented in medical device company direct-to-consumer TJA advertisements to understand whether advertisement content correlates with the population in need.

The authors analyzed medical device company pamphlets, websites, and banner and video advertisements of the top 4 medical device companies in US arthroplasty sales, collected via ad-specific search engine and direct correspondence. Variables include model race, sex, age, and weight. Pearson likelihood ratio tests were used to compare categorical variables.

Of the 116 advertisements collected, the model featured in the advertisement was white in 69.8%. The proportion of white models differed across medical device companies (company C, 75%) (P < .001) and advertisement type (video, 81.8%) (P < .001). Only 2.6% of advertisements featured obese models. Neither company C nor D, nor pamphlet or website advertisements used obese models.

Direct-to-consumer advertising from the top 4 orthopedic US medical device companies does not represent the population in need: While TJA remains underutilized by African American/Hispanic patients, models were overwhelmingly white. While obese patients are known to need TJA, patients in the advertisements were overwhelmingly not obese. The authors advocate for medical device companies to refocus their advertising strategies to target diverse patients in need of TJA.

Submitted by John Ready on June 14, 2022