The increasing cultural diversity in the nation has brought numerous opportunities and challenges in the healthcare industry. Cultural competency is the ability of healthcare providers and organizations to effectively deliver healthcare services that meet the cultural, social, and linguistic needs of patients. With a culturally competent healthcare system, patients can enjoy improved health outcomes and quality care accord. This is one way to eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. But to move healthcare systems towards these goals, there is a need to provide relevant training on cultural competence to all healthcare professionals.
Cultural Competency and Diversity in Healthcare
Cultural competency plays a critical role in reducing healthcare inequities. The ability to understand what cultural competency is, why it should be developed, and how it is implemented can create a medical practice that focuses on the care needs of all patients. According to a survey by the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, 81 percent of US hospitals educate their clinical staff during orientation on how to handle the unique cultural and linguistic issues that affect diverse patients and communities.
However, according to the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, only 61 percent of hospitals require all employees to attend cultural competency and diversity in healthcare training.
In most cases, doctors, EMTs, and nurses have been the preferred candidates for cultural competency training. Employees in other departments such as IT, collections, and billing also contribute to patient care but are often sidelined in cultural competency training. It must be a priority to develop cultural competency for all healthcare workers and operationalize culturally competent healthcare services to all patients.
Cultural competency typically affects accurate diagnoses, good record keeping, adherence to treatment, and proper reimbursement of services. It has a huge impact on the patient-physician relationship as well as medical trust. In the US, the combined cost of health disparities and resultant deaths due to inequitable and/or inadequate care has been estimated to be $1.24 trillion. Moreover, the lack of training in cultural competency has caused ineffective office operations and produced fear and frustration in patients.
Benefits of Cultural Competency and Diversity in Healthcare
Cultural competence brings a broad range of benefits to healthcare providers and the community at large. By enhancing the respect and understanding between the healthcare provider and the patient, you can significantly improve the level of trust and responsibility. Outside the office, cultural competence encourages community participation and involvement in matters of healthcare.
A culturally competent healthcare provider can streamline data collection by communicating medical terms in a language that the patient is comfortable with. This also reduces medical errors and eliminates frustrations for caregivers and patients whenever they need to unravel disputes or denial from Medicaid, Medicare, or insurance claims.
By incorporating diverse perspectives, strategies, and ideas in healthcare, medical practices can improve efficiency, cultivate better financial gains, and reduce barriers that slow down payment processing.
How To Become a Culturally Competent Healthcare Provider
By enhancing your institution’s cultural competency, you’re providing proof that your organization is successfully treating and communicating with patients of every culture, age, nationality, gender, and sexual identity.
To help healthcare providers address healthcare disparities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established a National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. Typically, the CLAS Standards are meant to create a blueprint for healthcare providers to deliver effective, understandable, respectful, and equitable care and services to diverse cultural health beliefs, health literacy, preferred language, and other communication needs.
Develop a Plan Today!
Is your healthcare organization culturally competent during this pandemic and unprecedented landscape in history? The time to start is now. Our team at Precision includes Ph.Ds. with professional appointments at Harvard Business School, the Faculty at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Senior Faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership. We have received multiple certifications in cultural competency and diversity in healthcare.
When your healthcare organization commits to a program of achieving cultural competency, healthcare workers throughout your organization will be able to understand how their own cultural norms impact the patients under their care and the overall health outcome.
Contact Vanessa Best, CEO of Precision HealthCare, and certified trainer in cultural competency to arrange training for your facility today! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 771-7554 or visit https://www.precisionhcc.com/professional-leadership/