Conversation May 26, 2023
Anirban Basu

Health practitioners are increasingly concerned that because race is a social construct, and the biological mechanisms of how race affects clinical outcomes are often unknown, including race in predictive algorithms for clinical decision-making may worsen inequities.

For example, to calculate an estimate of kidney function called the estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR, health care providers use an algorithm based on age, biological sex, race (Black or non-Black) and serum creatinine, a waste product the kidneys release into the blood. A higher eGFR value means better kidney health. These eGFR predictions are used to allocate kidney transplants in the U.S.

Based on this algorithm, which was trained on actual GFR values from patients, a Black patient would be assigned a...

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