The differences were sometimes acute. Scientists believed that eliminating the algorithmic bias would increase the percentage of black patients receiving additional help from 17.7 percent to 46.5 percent. When millions of customers were processed by the algorithm, this meant that black people’s legions did not receive enough support.
In this case, the tendency seems to have been largely ironed out. The team helped the healthcare provider transition to alternative hallmarks such as “active chronic diseases” and “avoidable costs”, with a focus on the patient’s actual health rather than cost. This helped to reduce the quantifiable distortion by 84 percent. While code changes are far from the only means of addressing allegations of systemic bias, the study suggests they could play a bigger role than you might think.