Orthopedics Not Viewed as Diverse Field

Black patients consider race of surgeon as more important in provider selection than White patients do

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Patients of various races do not perceive orthopedic surgery as a diverse field, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery

Mingda Chen, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues used survey data from 349 nonconsecutive patients from orthopedic clinics affiliated with a U.S. academic health system to identify specific patient preferences for surgeon demographics and to understand patient perceptions of racial and gender diversity in orthopedic surgery. 

The responses showed that Black patients were more likely to experience difficulty relating to their surgeon than White patients (11.48 versus 2.29 percent; odds ratio, 5.62). Furthermore, Black patients were more likely to perceive racial bias from their surgeon than White patients (5.17 versus 0.37 percent; odds ratio, 14.44). The level of racial diversity perceived by White patients was significantly higher than for Black patients (2.57 versus 2.10 of 10), but the absolute difference was small, suggesting that both groups perceived racial diversity in orthopedics to be low. There were significant differences noted by race in ranking the importance of a surgeon’s race, with Black patients ranking a surgeon’s race with higher importance (mean, 3.49 of 10) when selecting a surgeon versus White patients (1.45 of 10). 

“Despite the ongoing education reforms to encourage increased diversity during trainee selection, the impact of such efforts is yet to manifest as changes in patient perceptions in current practice settings,” the authors write. 

Several authors disclosed ties to industry.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) 

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