Study: Racial biases can affect patient care

June 25, 2012
James F. Sweeney
James F. Sweeney

Physicians with greater racial biases are less likely to provide patient-centered care and don't communicate as well, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Physicians with greater racial biases are less likely to provide patient-centered care and don't communicate as well, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers led by Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested 40 primary care physicians on racial bias and then taped their office visits. Doctors testing the highest for bias and racial stereotyping were more likely to verbally dominate black patients than white patients.

Physicians who perceived black patients as less likely to adhere to treatment spoke more slowly, involved patients less in decision-making, and were less likely to gain patients' trust, the study found.