Patient Race and Physician Performances: Quality of Medical Care, Hospital Admissions and Hospital Stays

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Abstract

The study has attempted to determine the extent of the relationship between patient race and physicians' performances in patient care. The sample of the study consisted of 3175 hospital episodes of patients discharged from 22 short-term general hospitals in the state of Hawaii. The epidodes were derived from 15 major diagnostic categories. Physicians performances were measured on the basis of the quality of medical care provided, the appropriateness of hospital admissions, and the appropriateness of hospital stays, including understays and overstays. The study has found: 1) that patient race had very limited influence on physicians' performances: the quality of medical care, the appropriateness of hospital admissions, and the appropriateness of hospital stays; 2) that Asian-Americans receive medical care equal to that of the white Americans (once they had access to the health care systems), at least in the state of Hawaii; 3) that among Asian-Americans, there was no distinct difference in medical care received by Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino; 4) that there was clear evidence of racial mutual selection between patients and physicians; and 5) that patients treated by the physicians with the same racial/ethnic backgrounds received care neither superior nor inferior to the care received by patients from the physicians with different backgrounds.

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