Patient Safety | 06.22.20
How Implicit Bias Harms Patient Care
Medical Economics (06/08/20) Bendix, Jeff
Implicit bias can have a serious impact on patient care. Because a majority of physicians are white and male, the unconscious assumptions they may hold about non-white and non-male patients can lead to inappropriate treatment decisions and worsening disparities in health outcomes. As understanding of implicit bias grows, so do techniques for combating it. Many healthcare institutions are developing training programs to help doctors recognize such bias and prevent it from affecting their medical decision-making. Experts say it's not possible to eliminate implicit bias entirely. Instead, doctors should focus on reducing their impact on patient interactions and medical decision-making. The process begins with acknowledging the biases exist, then practicing consciousness of those biases while interacting with patients. It is equally important to find each patient's unique qualities, making it easier to see them as individuals.
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