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Identifying and Overcoming Implicit Bias to Improve Patient Safety, Outcomes and Equity

Course description

Time: 12-1 p.m

Although “bias” is readily admitted by most individuals, the identification of “implicit” bias, as opposed to explicit bias, has been popularized in the last 15 years. In this session, Dr. Winston Wong will acknowledge the colloquial perception of bias, but will then introduce the concept of implicit bias as developed by researchers at Harvard University. Dr. Wong’s presentation will include an overview of implicit bias and a discussion of scenarios where clinical encounters are subject to its impact, along with the visual and linguistic components of implicit bias. Dr. Wong will use vivid examples of how implicit bias may surface in clinical settings, including common miscues and miscalculations. The potential harm and suboptimal care that results from implicit bias will also be described. Finally, Dr. Wong will conclude with potential modalities to mitigate the adverse impact of implicit bias in clinical encounters. In all circumstances, a sense of humility and deference is key to building trust and facilitating more gratifying and optimal patient interactions.

Learning objectives

At the conclusion of this learning activity, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the formation, function and role of implicit bias in human interactions
  • Identify the difference between explicit and implicit bias
  • Summarize the research and tests developed to validate implicit bias
  • Identify how implicit bias functions in both routine personal interactions and clinical encounters
  • Describe potential implicit bias in visual and linguistic (audio) encounters
  • Recognize hypothetical instances when implicit bias leads to suboptimal and damaging encounters
  • Identify strategies to employ to mitigate the negative impact of implicit bias

Target audience

Physician and clinician policyholders

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