Conscious and Unconscious Biases in Health Care

Key Themes from the Literature

Bias from the Patients' World View

Limited English Proficiency and the ability to communicate effectively in English are a major source of biases, and have a negative impact on health care for many patients and their families. In 1999, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a national random sample telephone study of Whites (1,479), African Americans (1,189), and Latinos (938) to ascertain their views on how often the nation’s health care system treats people unfairly. Latinos responded that people were treated unfairly “very often” and “somewhat often” based on how well a person speaks English. Regrettably, more recent studies continue to document this as an ongoing problem within health care.

Learn from Dr. Elena Rios about how biases interfere with communication between Latino patients and their health care professionals.

Listen as Dr. Glenn Flores shares examples from the extensive literature on the impact of biases and the related lack of language assistance services for Latino patients.

Dr. Rios also shares how biases impact the health care experience for Latino patients beyond language issues.