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J Gen Intern Med. 2003 Feb;18(2):146-52.

Racial and ethnic disparities in the use of health services: bias, preferences, or poor communication?

Author information

1
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex, USA. cashton@bcm.tmc.edu

Abstract

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.

PMID:
12542590
PMCID:
PMC1494820
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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