This guide from the Health Research and Education Trust, the research and education affiliate of the American Hospital Association, describes how hospitals and other health care organizations can become more culturally competent. A culturally competent health care system is one that acknowledges the importance of culture, incorporates the assessment of cross-cultural relations, recognizes the potential impact of cultural differences, expands cultural knowledge, and adapts services to meet culturally unique needs. Ultimately, cultural competency is recognized as an essential means of reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
This guide explores the concept of cultural competency and builds the case for the enhancement of cultural competency in health care. It offers seven recommendations for improving cultural competency in health care organizations:
- Collect race, ethnicity and language preference (REAL) data.
- Identify and report disparities.
- Provide culturally and linguistically competent care.
- Develop culturally competent disease management programs.
- Increase diversity and minority workforce pipelines.
- Involve the community.
- Make cultural competency an institutional priority.
Also included are self-assessment checklists for hospital leaders and a list of relevant cultural competency resources.