Dovidio, J. F., Eggly, S., Albrecht, T. L., Hagiwara, N., & Penner, L. A.
Racial biases in medicine and healthcare disparities
Healthcare disparities, which represent differential treatment by patient race and the experience of bias within the medical system in ways that cannot be accounted for by medical factors, systematically contribute to the relatively poor health of members of stigmatized groups internationally. We focus on bias in healthcare experienced by Blacks relative to Whites in the USA because, practically, these disparities are significant and socially consequential, and, empirically, these disparities are the most comprehensively documented and studied. Specifically, we describe the nature and extent of racial bias among healthcare providers; examine the effects of these biases on treatment, behavior toward Black patients, and the responses and perceptions of Black patients; and suggest ways of reducing the negative effects of racial bias in healthcare. Although physicians generally inhibit the direct effects of conscious (explicit) bias in the healthcare they provide, implicit bias, both independently and in combination with explicit attitudes, plays an influential role in the dynamics of physicians’ healthcare interactions with Black patients, producing lower quality care. We further identify several theory-based interventions to limit, and potentially eliminate, the negative consequences of provider biases within the medical context, recognizing the active roles that both providers and patients have in these exchanges.Back