Implicit Bias in Health Care: Thriving in a Multigenerational Environment
Our understanding of health care disparities is expanding with research showing that minorities experience poorer health outcomes when compared with nonminorities. These disparities are linked to social determinants of health including education, environmental hazards, and lower socioeconomic status (Byrne & Tanesini, 2015; Hoberman, 2016).
Another significant contributor to poor health outcomes is the implicit bias of health care workers. “Implicit (subconscious) bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control” (The Joint Commission, 2016, p. 1). The Joint Commission (TJC) is an independent not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. A component of this includes how you, as a health care leader, can navigate the opportunities and challenges of a multigenerational workforce. The different generations are identified as Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. Each of these are considered to be a “generational type.”
Based on this week’s readings, you will:
Discuss why implicit bias is a significant concern for health care professionals.
Discuss one element of TJC’s Health Equity site that was of interest to you, and explain why.
Discuss at least two actions that a health care professional can take to avoid the risk of implicit bias in interaction with colleagues and patients.
Evaluate if generational type impacts your behavior as a health care professional. Do you recognize yourself in the generational descriptions?
Describe a situation in which generational type was a challenging factor in your communication with another professional.
Describe how you think the situation can be improved by an enhanced understanding of generational type.
Refer to Faculty Expectations for Response Guidelines. Read the posts of your peers. Try to choose posts that have had fewer responses. Comment on the commonalities and differences between your post and the other learner’s post.
Byrne, A., & Tanesini, A. (2015). Instilling new habits: Addressing implicit bias in healthcare professionals. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20(5), 1255–1262.
Hoberman, J. (2016). Why bioethics has a race problem. Hastings Center Report, 46(2), 12–18.
The Joint Commission (2017). Health equity. Retrieved from https://www.jointcommission.org/topics/health_equity.aspx