Black adult patients experience significantly worse patient safety relative to White patients at the same hospital for six of 11 patient safety indicators, according to a report published online July 20 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Ph.D., from the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., examined within-hospital differences in Black and White adult patient safety risks. Racial disparities in the quality of inpatient care were assessed using 11 patient safety indicators that measure rates of adverse patient safety events of hospital-acquired illnesses or injury. The differences were examined using hospital discharge records from 26 states in 2017.
The researchers found that Black adult patients experienced significantly worse patient safety relative to White patients in the same age group, of the same gender, and treated in the same hospital for six out of 11 patient safety indicators, including four out of seven surgery-related patient safety indicators. Compared with Black patients, White patients experienced significantly worse quality of care in the same hospital on two patient safety indicators; quality of care was similar for Black and White patients on three patient safety indicators. Adjustment for patient insurance coverage type had little impact on differences in patient safety risks. Similar results were seen in analyses limiting patient populations to Medicare-covered patients only.
“Our previous work suggested increasing the racial diversity of patients that high-quality hospitals serve or concentrating resources to improve quality of care at low-performing hospitals would narrow racial inequities in care,” Gangopadhyaya said in a statement. “This study’s findings show that achieving racial equity in patient safety requires transforming the way care is delivered within hospitals as well.”