|People in ethnic and racial minority groups feel as though they receive less respect by clinicians, this study found. Photo: Getty Images.|
The perception of being treated with respect by clinicians may be a driver of disparities in individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups with eye diseases. One study based in the University of Michigan aimed to understand these drivers to help identify potential interventions to reduce eye health disparities to prevent vision loss and blindness.
This cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study used data on outcomes, associated factors and covariates from 5,343 patients (61.69% female) from the National Health Interview Survey. Participants aged 18 years and older self-reported having an eye disease (macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts), and patients who self-reported as Black, Asian, other/multiple races or Hispanic were considered to be in racial and ethnic minority groups (21.11% of the study population).
Patients in racial and ethnic minority groups had 23% lower odds of reporting being treated with respect. Being asked about opinions and beliefs was associated with 5.8-times higher odds of reporting being treated with respect for both racial and ethnic minority and non-Hispanic Caucasian participants.
“Importantly, the racial and ethnic minority population reported higher odds of being asked about opinions and beliefs pertaining to their medical care compared with the non-Hispanic Caucasian population,” the authors explained. “The associations were the same for both racial groups, meaning that if the racial and ethnic minority participants had not been asked about their opinions and beliefs at a higher rate, the disparity in feeling treated with respect might have been even greater.”
Still, 59.38% of patients in racial and ethnic minority groups reported not being asked about opinions and beliefs. The researchers believe that ensuring more patients in these groups are asked about medical opinions and beliefs could increase the proportion of those who feel they are treated with respect.
The authors were surprised to find that patients in racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to report being asked about their opinions and beliefs and said it’s possible that these patients had lower expectations about being asked about them for their medical care.
“Research has shown that there are racial and ethnic minority groups that are more likely to have negative views of both healthcare services and clinicians, so when they are asked, they might be likely to take notice,” the authors explained.
Hicks PM, Elam AR, Woodward MA, et al. Perceptions of respect from clinicians by patients in racial and ethnic minority groups with eye disease. JAMA Ophthalmology. December 16, 2021. [Epub ahead of print].