Doctors and patients see race and trust in healthcare differently, according to the survey.

Doctors and patients see race and trust in healthcare differently, according to the survey.

Black patients reported discrimination by a doctor at the highest rate (21%) followed by Hispanic patients (11%) and Asian patients (8%). NORC used two surveys: one among 600 physicians and another among over 2,000 consumers with oversamples for Black, Hispanic and Asian respondents conducted in January and February. Those groups were also less likely to report that their doctor performs trust-building behaviors. While 86% of White patients said they believe their physicians trust what they say, just 76% of Black patients and 77% of Hispanic patients agreed.

This latest NORC survey is part of a series on rebuilding trust through the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and follows a May report that found physicians and patients both lost trust in the healthcare system during the pandemic. In that report, consumers said they generally trust doctors and nurses more than they trust health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare stark inequities in the country’s healthcare system, evidenced by virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths all occurring at higher rates among patients of color.

But when it comes to diversity and discrimination, the way physicians view equity improvements varies widely from the way their patients see it, according to this latest survey. Dive Insight:

Richard Baron, CEO of the ABIM Foundation, said the findings underscore the importance of rooting out systemic racism wherever it is felt, as “any form of discrimination fuels mistrust between patients and the health care system patients rely on to treat them.” He further called on healthcare stakeholders to “collaborate to identify and address contributors to bias, which worsen health outcomes, especially for people of color.” But fewer (56%) said they believe diversity in the physician workforce will improve over the next five years, and even less (49%) think diversity in health system leadership will improve.

And 62% said they expect their own system will improve equity in patient outcomes in the next five years. In contrast, fewer physicians than patients said they feel the healthcare system is discriminatory, and a majority of physicians gave their employers a passing grade for their efforts to address inequities.

The News Highlights

  • Doctors and patients see race and trust in healthcare differently, according to the survey.
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