It Happens "More Than We Know" Majority of Physicians Report Hearing Biased Remarks from Patients

October 25, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Nearly 60% of doctors heard an offensive remark about themselves from a patient over the previous five years, according to a survey published October 18, 2017, by WebMD, Medscape, and STAT News. The online survey asked 822 physicians, as well as 100 registered nurses, 160 nurse practitioners, and 104 physician assistants, whether they had been on the receiving end of verbal abuse related to a personal characteristic during the previous five years. A majority of physicians (59%) indicated they had, mainly related to age, gender, race, or ethnicity. Furthermore, 47% of physicians had had a patient request a different doctor because of one of these biases. Women were far more likely than men to experience gender bias (41% compared with 6%). Women physicians were also more likely than men to hear negative comments about their young age (36% compared with 23%) or their weight (15% compared with 9%).

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