Racial and ethnic disparities in care have been extensively documented. For example, the congressionally mandated report on health care disparities from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute of Medicine's report entitled Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, both provide overwhelming evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in care. Much of the evidence comes from the field of cardiovascular care. A RAND Corporation study focuses specifically on cardiologists' perceptions of disparities in care.
Only one-third of cardiologists participating in the survey believe there are racial or ethnic discrepancies in the care given to heart patients.
Cardiologists who acknowledge such disparities tend to place the problem elsewhere:
Only 12 percent said that racial or ethnic disparities exist in their own hospital or clinic.
Only 5 percent said that such disparities exist in their own practice.
Black doctors are five times more likely than white doctors to state that such disparities exist.
Women doctors are more than twice as likely as male doctors to state that such disparities exist.
A sizeable majority of all participating doctors (69 percent) believe that there are disparities based on whether or not the patient is insured.
Many doctors also feel that patient problems (such as failure to understand or adhere to treatment) cause disparities.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.
Lurie, Nicole, Allen Fremont, Arvind Jain, Stephanie L. Taylor, Rebecca McLaughlin, Eric D. Peterson, B. Waine Kong, and T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., Do Cardiologists Perceive Racial or Ethnic Disparities in the Treatment of Heart Patients? Results of A RAND Survey. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2005. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9120.html.
Lurie, Nicole, Allen Fremont, Arvind Jain, Stephanie L. Taylor, Rebecca McLaughlin, Eric D. Peterson, B. Waine Kong, and T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., Do Cardiologists Perceive Racial or Ethnic Disparities in the Treatment of Heart Patients? Results of A RAND Survey, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RB-9120, 2005. As of September 24, 2020: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9120.html