The Role of Decision Support Systems in Attenuating Racial Biases in Healthcare Delivery

36 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019 Last revised: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Kartik K. Ganju

Kartik K. Ganju

McGill University

Hilal Atasoy

Rutgers Business School - Rutgers University

Jeffrey McCullough

University of Michigan

Brad N. Greenwood

George Mason University - School of Business

Date Written: July 21, 2019

Abstract

Although significant research has examined how technology can intensify racial and other outgroup biases, limited work has investigated the role information systems can play in abating them. Racial biases are particularly worrisome in healthcare, where underrepresented minorities suffer disparities in access to care, quality of care, and clinical outcomes. In this paper, we examine the role clinical decision support systems play in attenuating systematic biases among black patients, relative to white patients, in rates of amputation and revascularization stemming from diabetes mellitus. Using a panel of inpatient data from three states, and a difference in difference approach, results suggest that the adoption of the clinical decision support systems significantly shrinks disparities in the amputation rate across white and black patients; with no evidence that the increased revascularization is simply delaying eventual amputations. Further, evidence indicates that this effect is driven by changes in treatment care protocols, rather than altering within physician decision-making. These findings highlight the role information systems and digitized patient care can play in promoting unbiased decision making by structuring and standardizing care procedures.

Keywords: Healthcare Bias, Racial Bias, Electronic Health Records, Clinical Decision Support Systems, Amputation, Protocols

Suggested Citation

Ganju, Kartik K. and Atasoy, Hilal and McCullough, Jeffrey and Greenwood, Brad, The Role of Decision Support Systems in Attenuating Racial Biases in Healthcare Delivery (July 21, 2019). Fox School of Business Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3465839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3465839

Kartik K. Ganju

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke Street
Montréal, H3A 1G5
Canada

Hilal Atasoy

Rutgers Business School - Rutgers University ( email )

Jeffrey McCullough

University of Michigan ( email )

1415 Washington Heights
SPH II
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
7349361189 (Phone)
7347644338 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sph.umich.edu/faculty-profiles/mccullough-jeffrey.html

Brad Greenwood (Contact Author)

George Mason University - School of Business ( email )

VA 22030
United States

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