According to a study from the University of Chicago, doctors are more likely to describe their Black patients in a negative light when writing medical notes, especially compared to other racial groups.
Researchers analyzed over 40,00 hospital notes of about 18,000 patients and Black people were two times more likely than white people to have negative descriptions on their notes and files.
A study from JAMA Network Open found that doctors were more likely to use “stigmatizing language” in notes for Black patients. Researchers in this study analyzed more than 48,000 hospital notes and also found that doctors are less likely to believe Black patients which led to “negative attitudes about those patients.
From NBC News:
“When compared to white non-Hispanic patients, Black non-Hispanic patients had 2.5 times the odds of having a negative descriptor like ‘noncompliant, challenging, or resisting.’” Michael Sun, a medical student at the University of Chicago and lead author of the February study.
“Patients who perceive medical mistrust or patients who have reported incidents of discrimination for any reason in their health care, are more likely to mistrust the health care system, to follow recommendations by new medical providers, and really break down that doctor-patient relationship that we rely on,” Sun said, according to NBC News.
From the Jama Network Open study:
In this cross-sectional study, stigmatizing language in hospital notes varied by medical condition and was more often used to describe non-Hispanic Black patients. Training clinicians to minimize stigmatizing language in the EHR might improve patient-clinician relationships and reduce the transmission of bias between clinicians.