Race Rarely at Top of Patient’s Medical Record

January 12, 2021

Even though differences in health outcomes between Black and white people are well-established, a small survey finds that patients’ race is not routinely mentioned atop their electronic medical record. The survey looked at data from 1,200 patients, and checked for race in the first line of the EMR as part of the patient’s history of illnesses. Around 1 in 3 Black patients and 1 in 6 white patients had their race mentioned at the top of their illness history. Black patients were almost 60% more likely to have their race documented. White doctors were more likely to document their patients’ race, while attending physicians were more likely to do so than residents. The authors write that more research is needed to assess whether the lack of documenting race is associated with any health outcomes. Read more here.

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