Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today's Definition

Racism is when doctors discriminate in their treatment of a patient based on the patient's race.

Wait, racism is when doctors fail to discriminate in their treatment based on a patient's race.

The lead author of the study said in an interview that he attributed the differences less to overt racism than to a systemic failure to tailor treatments to patients’ cultural norms. The problem, said the author, Dr. Thomas D. Sequist, an assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, may be that physicians do not discriminate in the way they counsel patients.

“It isn’t that providers are doing different things for different patients,” Dr. Sequist said. “It’s that we’re doing the same thing for every patient and not accounting for individual needs. Our one-size-fits-all approach may leave minority patients with needs that aren’t being met.”