Racially biased pulsimeters

More of the depressing same.

Proof of bias, mostly but not exclusively racial bias in “Big Data” and “Big Tech” keep coming.

After this and this, now it is the time of

Pulse oximeters, or pulsimeters, are these little devices here:

Racially biased pulsimeters /img/pulse-oximeter.jpg
<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OxyWatch_C20_Pulse_Oximeter.png" target="_blank">Pulsimeter (from Wikimedia Commons)</a>


Pulsimeters measure the percentage of oxygen in blood, which is why they are lifesavers when a respiratory pandemic as COVID19 happens.

Problem is, the accuracy of readings by a pulsimeter depends on how accurately it takes into account the pigmentation of skin. When this doesn’t happen, you get this:

“Black patients were three times as likely to have a significant discrepancy in these readings."

“The findings aren’t entirely new, the team reports. A paper published in an anesthesia journal in 2005 also reported that skin pigmentation led to inaccuracy in pulse oximeter readings."

And, from here:

” in two large cohorts, Black patients had nearly three times the frequency of occult hypoxemia that was not detected by pulse oximetry as White patients."

More detail, including useful advice about using pulsimeters at home, is here.