The healthcare industry is a trillion-dollar beast, but it’s not all fun and games. Do you know how to reach your implicit bias? Wonder how you’re supposed to avoid implicit bias when your paycheck is on the line? It’s an uncomfortable conversation when you don’t know how to respond, so why don’t you start with the facts.
Table of Contents
1. What Is Implicit Bias?
Implicit bias refers to a subconscious, automatic preference for one group over another. Implicit bias can affect hiring, promotion, and performance evaluations—even when we don’t realize it.
For example: in one study measuring the effects of implicit bias on hiring decisions (which included participants with no conscious racial prejudice), researchers found that hires were more likely to be white men than any other demographic group. In another study looking at promotions within police departments, researchers found that when presented with resumes of equally qualified candidates of different races, police chiefs selected white men 90% of the time.
Though these examples may suggest a lack of intentional bias on behalf of decision-makers, this isn’t always true. Some people are aware of their feelings about certain groups—they just aren’t sure how those feelings affect their behavior.
If you’re not aware that your preferences are biased toward one group or another (whether because your biases are unconscious or because you don’t consider them a problem), it’s important for you to understand what causes implicit bias so that you can take steps to prevent those preferences from affecting others’ lives in harmful ways. Visit Implicit bias in healthcare training Michigan today!
2. How to Identify and Address Bias in the Workplace
- Know the Facts:
Research shows that implicit biases can be reduced when people are informed about their existence and how to identify them. The simplest way to do this is by educating staff on the facts and making sure they understand that these biases exist in all of us, even though we may not realize it. Cultural competency trainings are designed to help health care providers, including doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, build sensitivity to patients’ cultural backgrounds. The training aims to help providers better understand the needs of their patients and provide the best possible care.
- Identify Bias in Your Workplace:
Another important step is helping staff identify how implicit bias might impact their work environment. For example, if an African American patient goes into the hospital for a procedure but doesn’t come out alive due to poor medical care, could this have been prevented? When talking about such incidents with your staff members, consider asking them: “What would have happened differently if this person had been white?” This type of question forces people who may not think about bias much—or believe they’re immune from it—to consider its effects on patients and providers alike. At the Cultural Intelligence Center, they help health care trainees reduce their implicit bias.
3. Ways to Prevent Bias from Interfering with Patient Care
- Be mindful of your own biases. When you become aware of having a bias, you can work to correct it by researching the subject and seeking out new information from sources you trust. Training for diversity in the workplace will help you get rid of unconscious biases and assumptions so everyone has equal access to health care.
- Be mindful of the biases of others. If a colleague is making assumptions about a patient based on stereotypes, let them know that this may be contributing to poor patient care; for example, telling a cancer patient who looks younger than her age that she looks “so young” or “so healthy.”
- Be mindful of the impact of biases on patient care. Some examples include giving less time or attention when assessing an obese person because they might be perceived as lazy rather than thinking through possible underlying medical conditions; or treating patients differently because they have different backgrounds (e.g., not performing an appropriate skin exam due to an assumption that someone who wears traditional clothing is more likely to have lice).
- Be mindful of your patients’ biases—especially if they are unconscious ones!
4. Health Care System
You might think that the health care system is a simple set of processes, but it’s actually more complex than that. The health care system is made up of all the people who work in it and all the institutions that make it up. The health care system includes each individual doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or administrator and their specific processes, as well as each individual hospital or clinic with its own processes (and associated organizations), all coordinated to provide safe and effective services for patients. Five-minute leadership tests to help expose your implicit biases related to health care training.
5. Know Your Rights
As a patient, you have rights. You have the right to be treated with kindness and respect by your health care providers. You also have the right to understand why providers are recommending certain treatments for you. As a health care provider, you also have rights: You can decline interactions with patients on the basis of their race or ethnicity without fear of retaliation from your employer or others at work. Diversity Training Program is designed to help you understand implicit racial biases in health care.