Implicit Biases: Patient Safety, Risk Management, and Ethical Considerations
This article defines, discusses the science supporting, and describes the influence of implicit bias (also referred to as “unconscious bias”) on healthcare provider interactions with patients, and the ways it affects patient safety. Case studies based on NORCAL Group closed claims are presented for reflection. Readers will recognize the obvious patient care issues that prompted the patient to file a malpractice lawsuit. What might not be so obvious are underlying implicit biases, which may — or may not — have affected patient outcome. It is impossible to tell, but worth considering.
CASE ONE Racial Bias
CASE TWO Anti-Obesity Bias
CASE THREE & FOUR Gender Bias
CASE FIVE & SIX Socioeconomic Status Bias
CASE SEVEN Age Bias
SPECIAL FEATURE The Intersection of Healthcare Ethics and Implicit Bias