UK Calls for Tackling Alleged ‘Racial Bias’ in Medical Deviceson November 21, 2021 at 3:10 pm

The UK on Sunday called on the United States and other “like-minded countries” to tackle alleged biases in medical devices, such as oximeters that give less accurate readings on darker skins, which may have contributed to the higher COVID-19 mortality rate in ethnic minorities. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said he had commissioned an independent review to find out if “systematic bias” exists within medical devices in the UK. Javid also said he had spoken to his U.S. counterpart Xavier Becerra about the issue, and wanted to work with the United States and other like-minded nations to “shape what sits behind these valuable technologies.” Writing in The Sunday Times, Javid said “oximeters, which … are used to see whether treatment is needed for COVID-19, are less accurate on people with darker skin.” Oximeters typically monitor patients’ oxygen levels by shining a light into the skin and measuring how it’s absorbed …

Lily Zhou

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