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Study Finds Black Patients More Likely Than White Patients to Be in Hospitals with Worse Patient Safety Conditions

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A new report found that black patients face significantly higher risks in relation to patient safety measures as compared to their white counterparts. The study, by Urban Institute, investigated differences in black and white patient safety measures using complete hospital discharge records from 26 states in 2017 and further examined whether some of these differences in patient safety quality could be attributed to the hospitals into which they are admitted.

The study found that black patients experienced higher rates of adverse patient safety events on 6 of 11 patient safety measures, including 5 of 7 surgery-related patient safety measures. For 9 of 11 patient safety indicators, including 6 of 7 surgery-related patient safety indicators, black patients were significantly less likely to be admitted into hospitals classified as “high quality” (i.e., hospitals best at minimizing patient safety risks based on the median value of each patient safety indicator). These findings suggest that current policies aimed at reducing adverse patient safety events have been ineffective in addressing inequities in the quality of inpatient care.

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