Keywords: DEI, sexual harassment (PubMed Search)
This disturbing study out of the UK details the prevelance of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape within the hospital environment.
Overall it's clear that women surgeons in this study were the victims and witnesses of sexual violcence at a substantially higher rate than men. 89% on women report being witnesses of sexual harassment and 63% being the victim of it; 30% of women report being the victim of sexual assault, and 35% report being witness to it; and most concerning 0.8% of women report being raped by a colleague, with 1.9% being witness to it.
The study also asked respondents about their faith in higher organizations' (the Royal Colleges and the General Medical Council) ability to respond to these issues. For women, the percentage of people who felt that there was an adequate response was only between 15-30 percent.
There is a huge and persistent gap between men and women both witnessing and experiencing sexual harassment and assault at work. Everyone has a responsibility to immediately interrupt any form of sexual harassment or assault, no matter how inocuous it may seem to the perpertrator, in order to provide an environment we can all thrive in.
Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape by colleagues in the surgical workforce, and how women and men are living different realities: observational study using NHS population-derived weights Christopher T. Begeny1,* , Homa Arshad2, Tamzin Cuming3, Daljit K. Dhariwal4, Rebecca A. Fisher5, Marieta D. Franklin6, Philippa M. Jackson7, Greta M. McLachlan8, Rosalind H. Searle9 and Carrie Newlands10
BJS, 2023, 110, 1518–1526
Keywords: DEI, social Z codes (PubMed Search)
Since the switch from fee for service to value based care in the US, there has been a marked push to improve our documentation to expand our MDM and differential considerations. We are all here becoming adept at the medical documentation (thanks Dr. Adler!), but may not be adequately documenting our patients' social determinants of health using the social Z codes, a subset of ICD-10 coding language
This study wanted to look at the overall prevelance of social Z code utilization. They used the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), a nationwide database of ED visits, to look at this particular documentation. They examined 35 million (!) ED visits and found that only 1.2% had any social Z code included in the documentation. Given how many resources are linked to a verified (eg documented) need, this raises the idea that if Z codes are better documented, this may lead to increased funding for things like food, housing and transportation insecurities.
Limitations- the authors only examined the ED visits for ICD-10 codes, they didn't specifically look at the notes themselves which may have contained SDOH information. They also found that the social Z codes were more often documented in visits coded for mental health diagnoses, potentially indicating bias. There is also the concern that patients may not want the social z codes included, given the stigma around things like homelessness.
Overall, social Z code documentation could potentially unlock better resources for our patients by documenting a specific need in a population. More will come as documentation continues to evolve.
Molina, MF, et al. Social Risk Factor Documentation in Emergency Departments. Annals of Emergency Medicine, Vol 81, No. 1; January 2023. p38-46
Keywords: DEI, racial disparity, substance use disorder (PubMed Search)
Substance use disorder is now known to be a function of brain disease and not a moral failure. Patients with substance use disorder are highly complex and often use the ED at a higher frequency than those without the disorder. However, these patients are also frequently the target of implicit bias and stigmatizing behavior from the healthcare team that can lead to worsened outcomes. Add on top of that a racial disparity, and we can see how this group of patients can have really bad health outcomes.
This study looked at the length of time to treatment of patients with SUD, to see if there was a difference within this group based on racial or ethnic differences. It did find that black patients with SUD did wait on average 35% longer in the ED before being seen or treated. This difference was statistically significant.
While this study wasn't designed to identify the causes of such a disparity, it does raise concern for implicit bias being in effect among not only the healthcare workers, but ingrained into the healthcare systems themselves.
Patient's with SUD are a vulnerable group of patients, and black patients with SUD are experiencing a disparity in time to treatment. This should remind us all to seek out ways to remove these biases and disparities from the systems where we work.
Keywords: DEI, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender diverse (PubMed Search)
While transgender and gender diverse individuals make up a minority of the US population (approx 1.4 million individuals), they are unfortunately the victim of a large amount of discrimination in our society. A seemingly overwhelming number of laws are being passed this year specifically targeting this group, including how they can access health care. As emergency physicians, it is our duty to not only understand and care for these patients with excellent and compassionate care, but advocate for them in places of power.
This is a qualitative study that looked at the experiences of transgender and gender nonbinary (TGN) patients seeking care in EDs in Arkansas. They researchers performed structured interviews with 9 TGN patients who had received care in various EDs in the state. It identified several themes in their experiences:
1. Systems and structural issues- these included the patients' legal document and EHR gender prounouns not matching their gender identity, intake forms not having a place for patients' pronouns and chosen name, and confidentiality issues when calling patients from the waiting room using their deadname
2. Interactions with clinical staff- while many of the patients did have some positive interactions with the ED staff, there were several significant issues identified. Patients experienced misgendering, either intentional or unintentional, as well as inappropriate questions about patient anatomy that was not related to the presenting complaint, and other harmful behavior such as being stared out by staff, and delays or refusal of care
3. Perceptions of clinical knowledge- many of the subjects reported having to educate the ED clinicans regarding transgender health care issues. This influenced their desire to return for care to those EDs
We are all responsible for treating all of our patients with dignity and respect, even if we don't fully understand their own journey. And remember pride started as a riot and became a revolution!
Allison MK, Marshall SA, Stewart G, Joiner M, Nash C, Stewart MK. Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Patients in the Emergency Department and Recommendations for Health Care Policy, Education, and Practice. J Emerg Med. 2021 Oct;61(4):396-405. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2021.04.013. Epub 2021 Jun 25. PMID: 34176685; PMCID: PMC8627922.