Race and health care : problems with using race to classify, assess, and treat patients



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Though racial classifications may serve as a mechanism for identifying and correcting disparities among various groups, using such classifications in a clinical setting to detect and treat patient needs can be problematic. This report explores how medical professionals and researchers use race in health care for purposes of data collection, risk assessment, and diagnosis and treatment options. Using mixed race individuals as an example, it then discusses some of the problems associated with using race to group individuals, assess risk, and inform patient care. Finally, it discusses how certain components of personalized medicine, such as genetic testing, Electronic Health Records, and Rapid Learning Systems could help address some of the concerns that arise from the application of race in a health care setting.