Study finds that security is more often called on Black patients

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What is Health Equity?.It requires all people — regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic status — have fair access to health-related resources.Social and political determinants often negatively affect communities' abilities to lead healthy lives.Social determinants concern the conditions of the environment in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, age and worship.Political determinants concern the systematic process of distributing resources, administering power and structuring relationships

The retrospective cohort study was an internal effort by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital

Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently performed an internal study, determining that Black patients at the Boston medical facility experience more security emergency responses than white patients. Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the retrospective cohort study examined 24,212 patients from Sept. 2018 through Dec. 2019.

A total 77.5% of the patients were white, 9.7% were Black and 7.6% were Hispanic. During the period studied, 295 patients identified as white had security called on them and 66 patients identified as Black had security called on them during their first admission. As a percentage of patients, a total 2.8% of Black patients were subject to security responses — nearly twice the 1.6% rate for white patients.

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“Black patients had higher odds of a SER compared to white patients,” the study concluded. “No significant differences were found between Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients. Future efforts should focus on assessing the generalizability of these findings, the underlying mechanisms driving these inequities, and effective interventions to address them.”

Speaking to the Boston Globe, director of quality and safety for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Dr. Dana Im discussed the de-escalation training program launched in response to the study.

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“The data is shocking but also not shocking. I wanted our staff to have a safe space to review the data and reflect on the data and discuss it and ask honest questions,” Im said.

Tom Sequist, chief medical officer at the hospital, said that the study itself was part of a larger project known as United Against Racism.

“The United Against Racism platform is going to be awkward,” Sequist told the Boston Globe. “It’s going to be uncomfortable for us as a health system. If we aren’t uncomfortable, we’re not addressing the real issues.”

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