Is physician bias affecting your treatment? 5 things to know

Practice Management

According to a Medscape survey, your emotional state, your weight and even your intelligence or insurance coverage may affect the way your physician perceives you.

Here are five things to know:


1. The survey questioned more than 15,800 physicians.


2. Four in 10 physicians admit they have some degree of bias, or prejudice, toward specific types or groups of patients.


3. Of those who admitted to bias, the most common triggers were patients':


  • Emotional problems (62 percent)
  • Weight (52 percent)
  • Intelligence (44 percent)
  • Language differences (32 percent)
  • Insurance coverage (23 percent)


Other triggers not listed on the survey included drug-seeking by patients, drug abuse, malingering, patient noncompliance and patients with chronic pain.


4. Physicians most likely to admit to some degree of bias include:


  • Emergency room physicians (62 percent)
  • Orthopedists (50 percent)
  • Psychiatrists (48 percent)
  • Family physicians and OB/GYNs (47 percent)


5. Pathologists, radiologists and cardiologists were the least likely to say they make preconceived judgments and 55 percent of physicians who said they are burned out also said they held biases.


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