Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Patient Safety

Glenn Flores, Emmanuel Ngui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The number of racial/ethnic minority children will exceed the number of non-Latino white children in the United States by 2030, but little is known about racial/ethnic disparities in patient safety, particularly when it comes to children. A literature review revealed several racial/ethnic disparities in pediatric patient safety, including higher rates of newborn birth trauma, infections attributable to medical care, and postoperative adverse medical events for minority children, and a greater likelihood of adverse events for hospitalized children whose parents requested a Spanish interpreter. A new conceptual model is proposed for understanding racial/ethnic disparities in patient safety that includes five components: a higher prevalence of risk factors for medical errors, frequent medical errors of omission, adverse medical event definitions that often fail to incorporate minority views on what constitutes harm, language barriers causing a higher risk for errors and adverse events, and insufficient data collection systems for identifying and monitoring racial/ethnic disparities. Evidence suggests that improving patient safety for minority children could be achieved by routinely collecting and monitoring parental self-reported data on race/ethnicity, language, and English proficiency; enhancing the cultural competency of health care providers and staff; and providing adequate language services for all LEP patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1215
Number of pages19
JournalPediatric clinics of North America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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