Minority status has no effect on patient outcomes in the intensive care unit

Research Activities September 2011, No. 373

White and minority patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the same hospital do not differ in mortality or length of stay, after adjustment for various factors. These factors included severity of illness, resuscitation status, socioeconomic status, insurance status, and admission type. The final study sample included 9,518 ICU patients in 35 California hospitals. Black and Hispanic patients had the highest median ICU length of stay.

The researchers believe that their ability to detect disparities may have been reduced by only including hospitals that are more likely to provide high-quality care. This view is supported by a number of recent studies demonstrating that many of the differences in outcomes for black patients are explained by differences in quality of care provided by hospitals that serve high proportions of minority patients rather than differential treatment of minorities within the same hospital. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13919).

See "The effect of race and ethnicity on outcomes among patients in the intensive care unit: A comprehensive study involving socioeconomic status and resuscitation preferences," by Sara E. Erickson, M.D., Eduard E. Vasilevskis, M.D., Michael W. Kuzniewicz, M.D., and others in Critical Care Medicine 39(3), pp. 429-435, 2011.

Current as of September 2011
Internet Citation: Minority status has no effect on patient outcomes in the intensive care unit: Research Activities September 2011, No. 373. September 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/sep11/0911RA12.html