Joshua H. Tamayo-Sarver recently completed his dissertation on the role of patient race in physicians` decisions to prescribe opioid analgesia.

By | March 25, 2003

Mr.Tamayo-Sarver was guided by CHRP faculty member Neal Dawson. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supported the $32,400 study that consisted of building a theoretical model of rapid clinical decision-making, a secondary data analysis of racial/ethnic disparities in analgesia prescribing in emergency departments, a study to determine factors physicians report are important in the decision to prescribe opioid analgesics, and a study to determine the effect of patient race and desirable social characteristics on physicians` decision-making.

The study team established that racial/ethnic disparities exist in the prescription of opioid analgesics in the emergency department, but that these disparities are likely the result of differences in patient-provider communication that differ systematically by patient race/ethnicity. This contrasts with the long-held but unproven notion that physicians are racially/ethnically biased in their treatment decisions based only on patient race/ethnicity. “This study finally begins to open up the black-box of racial/ethnic disparities,” notes Mr. Tamayo-Sarver, “and builds are understanding of how, and under what context, the disparities arise. With this understanding, targeted interventions to address the problem can finally be developed.”Joshua H. Tamayo-Sarver