Centre for Clinical Ethics Annual Conference - Understanding and Responding to Bias in Healthcare
Patients deserve the same high quality of care regardless of their age, race, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics. However, data suggests that healthcare providers exhibit the same degree of bias as the general population. Even when receiving care from providers who are well-meaning and aware of how negative stereotypes affect patients, biases can unconsciously influence patients’ care, including the diagnoses and treatment recommendations they receive, the number of questions they are asked, and the number of tests ordered.
Biases can also shape how providers interact with patients through their body language, eye contact, and physical proximity while having a conversation. In other words, characteristics that are not relevant to treating a patient can have a profound effect on their experience in the healthcare system. Similarly, bias can occur laterally between healthcare providers or between employers and healthcare providers, negatively impacting the work environment. The goal of the 26th annual Centre for Clinical Ethics conference is to have a conversation about the role of bias in healthcare and what can be done about it.