Do ethnic group and gender influence the type of care that a heart patient receives? The following passage is from the article “Heart Care Reflects Race and Sex, Not Symptoms” (USA Today, February 25, 1999, reprinted with permission): Previous research suggested blacks and women were less likely than whites and men to get cardiac catheterization or coronary bypass surgery for chest pain or a heart attack. Scientists blamed differences in illness severity, insurance coverage, patient preference, and health care access. The researchers eliminated those differences by videotaping actors—two black men, two black women, two white men, and two white women—describing chest pain from identical scripts. They wore identical gowns, used identical gestures, and were taped from the same position. Researchers asked 720 primary care doctors at meetings of the American College of Physicians or the American Academy of Family Physicians to watch a tape and recommend care. The doctors thought the study focused on clinical decision making. Evaluate this experimental design. Do you think this is a good design or a poor design, and why? If you were designing such a study, what, if anything, would you propose to do differently?
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