Conscious and Unconscious Biases in Health Care

2. The Impact of Bias on Health and Health Care

The Impact of Biases on Health and Health CareIntroduction

There is clear and compelling evidence that biases, both conscious and unconscious, have a deleterious effect on health and health care-for both patients and practitioners. We will examine the findings from studies that document patients’ perspective of biases and the experience of care, and the impact of biases on beliefs, clinical decision-making, and communication on the part of health care practitioners. Some may view a discussion of the impact of biases on health and health care as challenging and potentially emotionally charged. However, health care practitioners and other health professionals are particularly skilled at meeting intellectual and emotional challenges.