California probes race bias in hospitals' patient care software

A trauma doctor attends to an injured border wall fall patient at Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, on May 25, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

CALIFORNIA - California is investigating whether software that helps hospitals carry out tasks such such as patient diagnostics discriminates against racial and ethnic minorities, according to the state's top legal official.

Attorney General Rob Bonta's office sent a letter to 30 unidentified hospitals in the state on Wednesday asking them for data on "decision-making tools, products, software systems, or algorithmic methodologies" used in operations including triage, billing and operating room scheduling.

The information request marks the "first step" in a state inquiry into whether commercial algorithms used by providers to make decisions regarding patients' healthcare access results in impartial treatment, according to a statement from Bonta's office.

"It's critical that we work together to address these disparities and bring equity to our healthcare system," Bonta said in the statement. BLOOMBERG

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