University of Pennsylvania-Led Study Finds Racism in Emergency Room Care

A new study led by fellows at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania used text messaged-based surveys to assess patient emergency department experience, including the impact of race. The surveys found that one of every 10 Black patients at emergency rooms believed that their race impacted the quality of care that they received.

Black patients reported that race most heavily affected the quality of care, respect, and communication. More than a quarter of Black patients reported race highly impacting being treated with respect and 22.4 percent reported a high impact on quality of service.

Anish Agarwal, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of the study notes that “Inequity — specifically across race — has led to significant disparities in patient care and outcomes that persist in health care. We need to find ways to measure experiences of racism and address it. Dismantling structural racism across society, and within health care, requires specific attention. We currently do not have ways to directly address or even investigate this critical aspect of health care. Our study shines light on the nuanced challenges of asking necessary, direct questions related to racism using patient-experience surveys.”

The full study, “Assessing Experiences of Racism among Black and White Patients in the Emergency Department,” was published on the website of the Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians. It may be accessed here.


Comments (3)

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  1. Dr Hamp says:

    It’s not race that was the problem; it’s racial discrimination. I wish the researchers made this distinction in their study.

  2. HBCU Watch says:

    Hey Hamp,
    Do you know what mutually exclusive mean? If so, apply it to your comment in order to see how confused you are.

  3. Joanne Johnson Shaw says:

    I read the previous comments and I am sad that we feel we can use whatever tone and say anything to each other with little or no respect!

    As to the study, I personally experienced differential treatment because of my race and gender. I lay in the emergency room for 10 hours before being transferred to different hospital due to the life threatening urgency of my condition.

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