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J Gen Intern Med. 2004 Nov;19(11):1154-9.

Why do providers contribute to disparities and what can be done about it?

Author information

  • 1Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, VA Health Services Research Center of Excellence, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, MN 55417, USA. Diana.Burgess@med.va.gov

Abstract

This paper applies social cognition research to understanding and ameliorating the provider contribution to racial/ethnic disparities in health care. We discuss how fundamental cognitive mechanisms such as automatic, unconscious processes (e.g., stereotyping) can help explain provider bias. Even well-intentioned providers who are motivated to be nonprejudiced may stereotype racial/ethnic minority members, particularly under conditions of that diminish cognitive capacity. These conditions-time pressure, fatigue, and information overload-are frequently found in health care settings. We conclude with implications of the social-cognitive perspective for developing interventions to reduce provider bias.

PMID:
15566446
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1494785
Free PMC Article
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