A Novel Use of Artificial Intelligence to Examine Diversity and Hospital Performance

Academic Article


  • Background: The US population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Research suggests that cultural diversity within organizations can increase team potency and performance, yet this theory has not been explored in the field of surgery. Furthermore, when surveyed, patients express a desire for their care provider to mirror their own race and ethnicity. In the present study, we hypothesize that there is a positive correlation between a high ranking by the US News and World Report for gastroenterology and gastrointestinal (GI) surgery and greater racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among the physicians and surgeons. Methods: We used the 2019 US News and World Report rankings for best hospitals by specialty to categorize gastroenterology and GI surgery departments into 2 groups: 1-50 and 51-100. Hospital websites of these top 100 were viewed to determine if racial diversity and inclusion were highlighted in the hospitals' core values or mission statements. To determine the rates of diversity within departments, Betaface (Betaface.com) facial analysis software was used to analyze photos taken from the hospitals’ websites. This software was able to determine the race, ethnicity, and gender of the care providers. We examined the racial and ethnic makeup of the populations served by these hospitals to see if the gastroenterologists and surgeons adequately represented the state population. We then ran the independent samples t-test to determine if there was a difference in rankings of more diverse departments. Results: Hospitals with gastroenterology and GI surgery departments in the top 50 were more likely to mention diversity on their websites compared with hospitals that ranked from 51-100 (76% versus 56%; P = 0.035). The top 50 hospitals had a statistically significant higher percentage of underrepresented minority GI physicians and surgeons (7.01% versus 4.04%; P < 0.001). In the 31 states where these hospitals were located, there were more African Americans (13% versus 3%; P < 0.001) and Hispanics (12% versus 2%; P < 0.001), while there were fewer Asians (4% versus 21%; P < 0.001) in the population compared with the faculty. Conclusions: We used artificial intelligence software to determine the degree of racial and ethnic diversity in gastroenterology and GI surgery departments across the county. Higher ranking hospitals had a greater degree of diversity of their faculty and were more likely to emphasize diversity in their mission statements. Hospitals stress the importance of having a culturally diverse staff, yet their care providers may not adequately reflect the populations they serve. Further work is needed to prospectively track diversity rates over time and correlate these changes with measurable outcomes.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mathis MS; Badewa TE; Obiarinze RN; Wilkinson LT; Martin CA
  • Start Page

  • 377
  • End Page

  • 382
  • Volume

  • 260