The Importance of Cultural Competence in Healthcare

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The Importance of Cultural Competence in Healthcare
The Importance of Cultural Competence in Healthcare

The world grows to be more and more diverse each day, and this is something that affects every aspect of our lives. One of the industries that are already experiencing this in a major way is healthcare.

Sadly, it’s also one of the industries that are lagging behind in terms of being able to adapt to the increasing diversity. In other words, healthcare is culturally incompetent, and efforts need to be put in to turn that incompetence into competence.

Only then will it be possible for healthcare organizations and providers to deliver their services effectively.

Meeting the needs of patients

Patients have cultural, social, and linguistic needs that need to be met and healthcare providers must be able to comply. It is only when patients feel that they are respected will they truly feel like communicating in a more transparent manner.

This means respecting their customs, traditions, values, and beliefs.

The end result of all this is that the disparities in healthcare that affect ethnic/cultural minorities can be reduced.

Addressing the problem

Currently, one of the greatest factors driving cultural incompetence in the healthcare sector is the lack of diversity. This is followed by the lack of care systems and improper communication between providers and patients from varying ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

There are several ways to overcome these challenges. To begin with, providers can hire/promote workers from minority groups. They can also establish/improve programs that support minority leadership.

A community or patient feedback system can also be established, allowing patients to communicate their problems and concerns.

Technological tools that aid translation and interpretation must be leveraged to address gaps in communication.

Finally, hiring a translator or translation services can be of immense help. For instance, professional translation services can be used to communicate medical literature such as journals, brochures, and other materials, which can educate patients and also, instill trust in them.

Translation services can also be used to translate website content, thereby, increasing the provider’s visibility among ethnically diverse groups.

Live translators or interpreters, on the other hand, can be used in facilities or areas where there is a high volume of ethnically-diverse patients.

In conclusion, healthcare organizations must make it a point to stay updated about patient needs. In other words, they need to become culturally competent. They must invest in training their employees with the right tools if they intend to cater to a multi-cultural patient group while eliminating bias and insensitivity.

 

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