Disparities in wait times and doctor visits in Black and White patients

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Disparities in wait times and doctor visits in Black and White patients

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2024

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Disparities in health between Black people and white people are signs of a systematic and serious public health crisis that needs extensive attention to understand causes and find solutions. Understanding the overall experience of Black patients when seeking medical treatment is a necessary part of this research, because it has been shown that poor treatment by doctors leads people to avoid the healthcare system entirely, leading to worse health outcomes. The research I conducted compared the personal experiences of young Black people who sought medical treatment to those of White people. Using the prolific recruitment website I surveyed 125 Black participants and 103 White participants about their most recent experience with the medical system, and explored any disparities that emerged. Results showed few disparities in reported treatment by healthcare providers. Black patients waited significantly longer to see their doctors than White patients, t(221) = 2.125, p < .035. However, providers spent more time with Black patients than White patients, t(226) - 3.64, p < .001, and Black patients and White patients did not differ in how warm or competent they felt their provider was. This was fewer disparities than I expected based on the literature, but I noticed the following unusual features of the participants, which may explain this. First, a third of the Black patients saw a Black doctor, which is much higher than the national average (6%), and 54.4% of Black participants had seen their provider at least once before, which might suggest they liked the provider’s care at least somewhat, or they would not have chosen to see them again.

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Faculty Advisor: Traci Mann

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This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Jamari, Zakaria A. (2024). Disparities in wait times and doctor visits in Black and White patients. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/262507.

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