, Volume 28, Issue 9, pp 1119-1121

Maximizing the Benefits of “We” in Race-Discordant Patient–Physician Relationships: Novel Insights Raise Intriguing Questions

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Over the last decade, research on racial differences in the quality of the patient–physician relationship has yielded mounting evidence of lower levels of trust,1 satisfaction2 and perceived partnership2 in race-discordant patient–physician relationships. Evidence linking race discordance to technical aspects of care and health outcomes is limited and results are mixed.3 However, continued study of the role of race discordance in perpetuating or mitigating health and health care disparities is important because most relationships between ethnic minority patients and their clinicians are race-discordant.4

More recent work focuses on clarifying mechanisms of poorer patient experiences in racially discordant patient–physician interactions. Key mechanisms include poorer quality communication, especially in affective domains,2 possibly due to implicit bias or stereotyping of patients that occurs during medical interactions.5 Although several intervention strategies have been proposed to redu