Patients give physicians who share same race or ethnicity higher ratings, study finds

Nearly 88 percent of physicians who shared the same race or ethnicity as their patients received the maximum score on a patient experience survey compared to 82 percent from discordant pairs, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open

Researchers from Penn Medicine in Philadelphia analyzed 117,589 Press Ganey Outpatient Medical Practice Surveys, a commonly used tool to gauge the patient experience, between July 2014 and May 2017. About 82 percent of patients who participated were white, 12.8 percent were Black, 3.4 percent were Asian and 2.3 percent were Hispanic. 

They found overall, patients were more likely to give the maximum patient rating score if their physician shared the same race or ethnicity. Among Black patients, ratings were 3 percentage points higher for Black physicians compared to white physicians. 

Researchers said the results shouldn't discourage physicians from caring for diverse patient populations, but underline the need to better understand how different factors play a role in the patient experience. 

"Our data highlights why it's more important than ever to have a diverse physician workforce who looks like all the different types of patients we take care of, including different genders and different races," said Deirdre Sawinski, MD, senior study author. 


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