Cultural Competence in Healthcare
The most recent U.S. Census confirmed that our country has become more diverse than ever before. Clinicians are not insulated from this diversity. Patients present a broad range of perspectives regarding health and illness that are oftentimes shaped by their social and cultural backgrounds. In this changing environment, delivering effective cross-cultural care is rapidly becoming a major quality issue for health care systems, a risk management issue for physicians and a necessary skill set for all clinicians.
What is culture?
Culture can be seen as a pattern of learned beliefs, values and behaviors that are shared among groups. They include thoughts, styles of communication, ways of interacting, views on roles and relationships, practices and customs. Culture shapes how we explain and value the world, and provides us with the lens through which we find meaning.
What is cultural competence?
Cultural competence in health care describes the ability of systems and health care professionals to provide high quality care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including tailoring delivery to meet patients social, cultural and linguistic needs. Commonwealth Fund, Cultural Competence in Health Care Report
What is the patient-based approach?
This approach centers on the idea that the patients themselves are your best source of information about their cultural perspectives. Rather than using limited information to make assumptions about various cultural groups and their beliefs and behaviors, the patient-based approach focuses on the development of core knowledge and skills that are particularly useful in cross-cultural interactions.