Weclome to CodeX's New Patient Voices Series!
CodeX recently talked with cancer patients, survivors, and advocates to hear their stories and learn more about their perspective through the cancer care coordination process. CodeX (Common Oncology Data Elements eXtensions) is a HL7 FHIR Accelerator, launched at the end of 2019, that is building a community to enable interoperable cancer data modeling and applications that lead to step-change improvements in cancer patient care and research.
Bias in Healthcare is Deadly
“It’s almost like negligent homicide. Because of the bias that’s there—whether it’s explicit or implicit—is resulting in these people—patients of color—not receiving the full scope of care that they should be.” Jamil Rivers is a person with breast cancer and the Founder of The Chrysalis Initiative.
The Chrysalis Initiative is a patient advocacy organization looking to disrupt harmful disparities in accessibility, quality and outcome of cancer care. Looking at the source of disparities is the first step to rectifying them, and The Chrysalis Initiative provides equity assessments that evaluate all types of healthcare services that offer cancer care. The assessments evaluate whether the experiences of patients of color differ from White patients. When Jamil first started the equity assessments, she expected around 50% of patients of color to experience racism and bias. However, Jamil quickly discovered that this number was much higher. “90% of our preliminary data indicated that they [patients of color] were receiving substandard care and experiencing racism and bias in their care.” According to Jamil, many medical providers and researchers are cognizant of racism and bias affecting patients, but few understand the true pervasiveness of explicit and implicit racism in patient care. Even biases that at first glance seem trivial can be deadly because each action based upon bias deteriorates the quality of care a patient receives.