Health Care Bias Is Dangerous. But So Are ‘Fairness’ Algorithms

Despite advances in the medical industry, healthcare access and the quality of care that people of color receive is still far lower than it should be. Recent studies have shown that this disparity can be attributed to a variety of factors – including racism, economic disadvantages, and a lack of education.

At first glance, it may seem like an easy solution to just focus on “fixing the numbers” when it comes to medical systems and their interactions with people of color. However, this type of approach can lead to worse outcomes for these individuals due to the fact that these proposed “fixes” are often based on short-term solutions that do not truly address the systemic inequality in place.

Instead of relying on a “quantity over quality” approach when it comes to people of color in the medical system, it is important that a comprehensive approach is taken. This begins with ensuring that healthcare providers have the necessary cultural competencies to interact with and understand individuals of color. Ensuring that access to quality healthcare is extended to people of color is also crucial, with efforts being made to provide free or low cost healthcare to individuals of all racial backgrounds.

Finally, people of color must be more involved in decision-making when it comes to healthcare policy and initiatives. Inviting individuals who are experts in their field and understand the needs of marginalized communities can help to ensure that these measures are designed to truly benefit all individuals, regardless of their racial or cultural backgrounds.

Overall, medical systems disproportionately fail people of color, but a focus on fixing the numbers can lead to worse outcomes. The only way to truly address the inequity in access and quality of care for individuals of color is by taking a comprehensive approach that puts culture, access and policy front and center.






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