Britain launches review of bias in medical devices

britain launches review of bias in medical devices

Health secretary Sajid Javid | Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Britain’s health secretary announced Sunday that he’s launched a review of racial and gender biases in medical devices, triggered by reports that blood oxygen monitoring devices work less well on people with darker skin.

Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC that he thinks it’s possible that some people died during the COVID-19 pandemic because of those discrepancies and that they may have contributed to the overall higher death rates in Black and South Asian people in the United Kingdom.

“The possibility that a bias — even an inadvertent one — could lead to a poorer health outcome is totally unacceptable,” Javid wrote in the Sunday Times.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in late 2020 found that pulse oximeters,…

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