Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Use of Health Services
Bias, Preferences, or Poor Communication?
Article first published online: 28 JAN 2003
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 146–152, February 2003
How to Cite
Ashton, C. M., Haidet, P., Paterniti, D. A., Collins, T. C., Gordon, H. S., O'Malley, K., Petersen, L. A., Sharf, B. F., Suarez-Almazor, M. E., Wray, N. P. and Street, R. L. (2003), Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Use of Health Services. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18: 146–152. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20532.x
- Issue published online: 28 JAN 2003
- Article first published online: 28 JAN 2003
- racial disparities;
- health care utilization
African Americans and Latinos use services that require a doctor's order at lower rates than do whites. Racial bias and patient preferences contribute to disparities, but their effects appear small. Communication during the medical interaction plays a central role in decision making about subsequent interventions and health behaviors. Research has shown that doctors have poorer communication with minority patients than with others, but problems in doctor-patient communication have received little attention as a potential cause, a remediable one, of health disparities. We evaluate the evidence that poor communication is a cause of disparities and propose some remedies drawn from the communication sciences.