Black patients in California adjust behavior to reduce chance of discrimination
Part of the study's goal was "to call attention to the effort Black patients must exert to get quality care from health providers," said the report.
Many Black patients in California, the most populous state in the United States, report adjusting their appearance or behavior — even minimizing questions — all to reduce the chances of discrimination and bias in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices, reported Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on Friday.
Of the strategies they describe taking, 32 percent pay special attention to how they dress; 35 percent modify their speech or behavior to put doctors at ease. And 41 percent of Black patients signal to providers that they are educated, knowledgeable, and prepared, according to the report.
The ubiquity of these behaviors is captured in a survey of 3,325 people as part of an October study titled “Listening to Black Californians: How the Health Care System Undermines Their Pursuit of Good Health,” funded by the California Health Care Foundation.
One-third of Black patients report bringing a companion into the exam room to observe and advocate for them. And, the study found, more than a quarter of Black Californians avoid medical care simply because they believe they will be treated unfairly.
Part of the study’s goal was “to call attention to the effort Black patients must exert to get quality care from health providers,” said the report.
“There is ample evidence of racial inequality in health care,” it added.