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January 17, 2001

Race and the Limits of Administrative Data

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Mark is Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2001;285(3):337-338. doi:10.1001/jama.285.3.337

Because of concerns about differential access to and quality of health care in the United States, studies evaluating such factors as race and sex in relation to health care use and outcomes have achieved some prominence in the medical literature.1-5 Although the effects of race and the many correlates of race such as insurance coverage and socioeconomic position are sometimes difficult to disentangle, many findings indicate that black patients are disadvantaged compared with others in receiving good health care. However, much of the existing research is unable to determine whether the differences in either utilization or outcomes observed between races is due to differences in severity of illness, differences in severity of comorbidities, cultural differences in attitudes toward health care, or racial bias.