Cultural Competency as a Contributing Factor toward Health Disparities ABSTRACT
CulturalCompetency as a Contributing Factor toward Health Disparities
Thispaper explores various cultural factors that affect the healthcareprovision. Different factors such as race, ethnicity and literacylevels have been examined and the extent to which they bring healthdisparities established. The paper also examines how various healthorganizations and health professionals has contributed towardscultural competence in reducing health disparities. It is structuredto cover an introduction, research questions and objectives,literature review to support various arguments based on facts,conclusion, implications and recommendations made. Upon completion,the paper wishes that the key areas in cultural competence andhealthcare disparities are addressed and relevant sources areprovided.
Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTION 3
1.1 PURPOSE 3
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 4
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 5
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW 5
2.1 CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING HEALTHCARE PROVISION 5
2.1.1 Race and Ethnicity 5
2.1.2 Language and Communication barriers 5
2.1.3 The level of Education 6
2.1.4 Socio-Economic status 7
2.1.5 Beliefs and Values 7
2.2 EVIDENCE OF HEALTH DISPARITIES 7
2.3. STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS TO PROMOTE CULTURAL COMPETENCE 8
2.3.1 Training cultural competent health providers 8
2.3.2 Adoption of health policies 9
2.3.3 Creating public awareness 9
2.3.4 Increase in patient-physician relations 9
3. CONCLUSION 11
4. IMPLICATION 12
5. References 12
Recentlyhealth disparities have been reported in many nations. USA inparticular has recorded a significance increase in health caredisparities where the most affected parties are minorities (blacks)compared to majority population (whites). Various differences inpeople based on their beliefs, values, race among other culturaldifferences have affected the provision of healthcare globally.Researchers and health organizations have intervened in the situationto help bridge the gap between culture and health care provision.Cultural competence in this case is defined as the integration ofcultural factors into the healthcare system by health organizationswith an aim or reducing health disparities. According to Beach et al(2005), cultural competence is viewed as a strategy adopted by healthdepartments to improve understanding, attitudes and expertise ofhealth care providers. All health care centers work with an aim ofproviding the best services to their clients regardless of personaldifferences. Factors such as age, gender, race, literacy levels,ethnicity and language have been examined and various policies andstrategies adopted to ensure that they do not affect health careprovisions. Advancement in technology has also contributed tocultur5al competence due to recent inventions in health caremachines. The importance of enhancing cultural competence isemphasized in this paper and objectives established.
(i)To establish major socio-cultural factors that affects the working ofhealth organizations based on the diversity of patients handled inhealth centers
(ii)To create a pool of qualified and responsible health providers thatunderstands the demands of their clients and eliminate any obstaclesthat may lead to health disparities
(iii)To ensure that all clinical centers are more accessible to patientsall over the world with an aim of eliminating diseases and naturaldisasters that affect individual’s health care
(iv)To alarm the people on various biases of persons and ensure that theyare recognized and accepted in the society.
(v)To ensure that different cultural settings are respected and ensurethat equality in health provision is facilitated
(vi)To ensure that people join hands in healthcare provision all over theworld with an aim of eliminating diseases and pandemics regardless ofrace, gender or ethnicity
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Variousresearch questions are raised in the paper that assists in findinganswers relevant to the topic.
What are various cultural factors that affect provision of quality health care to the people?
What are the most affected regions in the world where health disparities have been evident?
What are various strategies adopted by the government and healthcare organizations to ensure that these factors does not affect health care provision?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
(i)To establish different cultural settings that bring about health caredisparities
(ii)To weigh the extent to which the government and global community isworking to reduce these disparities.
(iii)To find various solutions that will help reduce health caredisparities and promote a healthy global economy.
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW2.1 CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING HEALTHCARE PROVISION2.1.1 Race and Ethnicity
Inspite of technological advances in elimination of common diseases,racial minorities receive lower quality health care services comparedto non-minorities. Racism and ethnicity has been affecting qualityhealth provision since time immemorial. The most affected personsespecially in America are the blacks who are usually discriminated inmany situations. A bigger percentage of whites in America haveregular doctors and are covered by health insurance compared toblacks. During the times of slave trade, a black person could rarelyaccess health care which led to increased illness and eventuallydeath. Brondolo et al (2009) argues out that racial and ethnicdifferences have been the main reason for health care disparities inmost nations. The discriminated parties are usually at a higher riskof contracting chronic diseases due to the limited health care andhealth centers accessible to them.
2.1.2 Language and Communication barriers
Itis hard to find a nation whose people speak same language. Mostcountries comprise people from different nations speaking differentlanguage. Communication barriers is likely to affect the level andquality of health services provided. An American native can speakgood English compared to Africans or Asians residing in the country.One is able to explain to the service providers how they feel andwhen the condition started. This becomes very easy for medicalpractitioners to detect the illness they are suffering from and henceprovide quality health care. Patient’s dissatisfaction is alsobrought about by Language and communication barriers. Unless apatient has an interpreter, he/she is likely to be dissatisfied withhealth care services provided to them. Health providers should learnhow communication barriers affect health care provision fornon-native patients Diamond et al (2010).
2.1.3 The level of Education
Lowliteracy levels increases the chances of health disparities andprovision of low quality health care. For instance, the agedgeneration is subject to receiving low quality healthcare compared tothe young generation who have high literacy levels. It’s hard forold patients to make complex decisions on how to manage their healthconditions especially if they have not been exposed to formaleducation. An educated person understands that health care is vitalas far their life is concerned. These people usually have personaldoctors and regularly visit health care centers for checkup. Literacylevels, racism and ethnicity as well as language barriers are closelyrelated. Those discriminated on racial grounds are likely to have lowliteracy levels compared to non-minorities. On the other hand, aneducated person is capable of communicating their conditions ensuringthat they get the best quality of health care. Low literacy levelsalso influences a person’s ability to read and comprehend doctorsprescriptions, health programs and the importance of healthinsurance. This limit provision of quality health care.
2.1.4 Socio-Economic status
Differentmembers of the society belongs to different social classes. Thoseearning higher incomes are more likely to access quality health carecompared to low income earners. The ability to purchase prescribedmedicines or visit higher level health clinics is dictated by thelevel of income one earns. Health care provision in developingnations is limited since it is comprised of low income earners.
2.1.5 Beliefs and Values
Personalbeliefs play a critical role in determining the quality of healthcareprovided. Some religions believe that healthcare is provided by Godand they rarely visit health centers for checkup. Most Africancommunities believe in herbal medicine rather than manufacturedmedicine. In the onset of illness, these communities are likely tosuffer since herbal medicine may not function effectively as modernmedicine. These beliefs have increased barriers to quality healthprovision by health organizations.
2.2 EVIDENCE OF HEALTH DISPARITIES
Thereis no country in the world that can claim to provide qualityhealthcare to all its citizens. There are always barriers here andthere hindering provision and access to quality health care. However,some regions experience more disparities than others. Allocation ofhealth facilities in developing nations have been recorded to be lowcompared to developed countries. Most developing countries usetraditional methods and health facilities to provide health care totheir people. In contrast, developed countries use modernizedfacilities and have embraced technology in providing healthcare.Patients in developing countries have therefore been limited to besthealth services compared to patients in developed countries.Geographical locations also explains different types of diseases.Tropical diseases have mostly affected African regions and some partsof South America. Chronic diseases have been reported to affectmostly European countries and America in particular. Health providersin different regions should therefore ensure that the most dominantillness have been controlled and quality health care provided to thepatients. According to Gordon et al (2006), different environmentalfactors dictates different obesity-related patterns.
2.3. STRATEGIES ADOPTED BY HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS TO PROMOTE CULTURALCOMPETENCE
CulturalDifferences and diversity has increased the challenges in qualityhealth provision. This has raised concerns to all healthorganizations to join hands and eliminate these barriers. Health careproviders and policy makers have come together to create a culturalcompetent environment in health care provision. This environment willcontribute a lot to improved health outcomes, high quality servicesand eventually eliminate different health disparities. Some of thestrategies that have been put into practice includes:
2.3.1 Training cultural competent health providers
Doctorsand health providers all over the world have been alerted ondifferent cultural diversity. Different cultural factors have beenevaluated and the extent to which they affect health provisionestimated. Health organizations all over the world have thereforecreated a pool of qualified personnel who accept and understandsdifferent patients from different cultures. This has reduceddiscrimination on racial or ethnic grounds ensuring that all patientsare treated equally.
2.3.2 Adoption of health policies
Healthorganizations such as Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) andWorld health organizations (WHO) has adopted policies that are aimedat reducing communication barriers to patients. The policies callsfor allocation of medical practitioners from different linguisticssettings who can handle patients in the language they understand.Apart from reducing language barriers, health organizations has putstrict rules regarding discrimination of people on racial, ethnic orother cultural grounds. Government has enforced these policiesthrough establishment of constitutional act that safeguards allpeople’s interests. Additionally, American Medical Association(AMA) distributes resources and training facilities to health centersto ensure that the policies are implemented
2.3.3 Creating public awareness
Healthorganizations have indulged in massive campaigns on social media,television and publications such as magazines condemning racial andethnic discrimination. Facebook and twitter have contributed a lot inspreading the gospel and embracing brotherhood in any social setting.A more recent book by Eldredgeet al (2016) has provided different strategies adopted aimed atdeveloping effective health promotion campaigns. Thishas increased competence in provision of health services ensuringthat every individual has equal access to quality health.
2.3.4 Increase in patient-physician relations
Healthorganizations have improved health centers interactions betweenservice providers and patients in the following ways:
Provision of interpretation services- health centers have hired professionals from different nations to facilitate communication for non-native patients. Any queries and enquiries about health issues are interpreted to the patients by the interpreter. This has not only improved health care competence but also patient’s satisfaction.
Recruitment of minority staff- health centers have provided equal employment opportunities to all medical practitioners regardless of race, gender and ethnicity. This has eliminated any form of discrimination
Coordination with traditional medicine men- health organizations have joined hands with traditional doctors to come up with best medicines both natural and manufactured. This has ensured that ‘traditional clinics’ are sustained and the services offered improved.
Community health workers- health issues and have been distributed to cover even communities. Semi-skilled workers have been hired and trained to undertake health concerns such as personal hygiene, first aid procedures, and environmental cleanliness among other health care services. This has rendered it easier to reach for patients who live in remote areas.
Upholding cultural values in health campaigns and provision- health organizations have embraced different cultural values such as abstinence campaigns among the youths to prevent spread of STDs. Different religions have also been called upon to join hands with health organizations to eliminate diseases.
Rapid response for communities living in remote areas- health providers have ensured that emergency situations in remote regions are responded to urgently. The common rapid response known is the flying doctors who intervene in regions that are inaccessible.
Setting up clinical centers in areas inhabited by specific populations- this has ensured that communities living in remote areas have easy access to medical services.
24 hr.-service provision- health centers and minor clinics have been granted permission to operate on 24/7 hour. This has ensured that emergencies are easily responded to and that no patient is deprived health care service at any hour.
Publication of healthy living in different languages- brochures, pamphlets and other health campaigns have been published using different languages to cover interests of all communities. This has facilitated understanding of principles of living a healthy life to all communities in the world.
Reservation of specific professionals to teach cultural sensitivity- health organizations have reserved a pool of trained personnel to educate physicians on how to handle patients from different social settings
Thepaper concludes that socio-cultural factors have affected provisionof quality healthcare. Factors such as racism, ethnicity, beliefs andvalues, sexual orientation among other factors have been found tocause disparities in health fare provision. However, healthorganizations have intervened in the area and reduced thesedisparities with an aim of promoting quality health care provisionall over the word regardless of cultural differences. The governmenthas also intervened through constitution which condemnsdiscrimination of individuals from different social settings.Individuals have also joined hands with health organizations in thefight against cultural discrimination on social media platforms suchas Facebook and twitter. This has created awareness to the worldabout different cultures in the world whose people should berespected and treated equally.
Thepaper implies that health organizations have done a lot to promotecultural competence which have reduced disparities in health careprovisions. The 21stcentury upholds equality and every person in the world deservesquality health care regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or anyother cultural grounds. However, health care disparities are not 100%eliminated in provision of health care due to different circumstancesand different attitudes adopted by different people.
Beach,M. C., Price, E. G., Gary, T. L., Robinson, K. A., Gozu, A., Palacio,A., … & Powe, N. R. (2005). Cultural competency: A systematicreview of health care provider educational interventions. Medicalcare,43(4),356.
Brondolo,E., Gallo, L. C., & Myers, H. F. (2009). Race, racism and health:disparities, mechanisms, and interventions. Journalof behavioral medicine,32(1),1.
Diamond,L. C., & Jacobs, E. A. (2010). Let’s not contribute todisparities: the best methods for teaching clinicians how to overcomelanguage barriers to health care. Journalof general internal medicine,25(2),189-193.
Gordon-Larsen,P., Nelson, M. C., Page, P., & Popkin, B. M. (2006). Inequalityin the built environment underlies key health disparities in physicalactivity and obesity. Pediatrics,117(2),417-424.
Eldredge,L. K. B., Markham, C. M., Kok, G., Ruiter, R. A., & Parcel, G. S.(2016). Planninghealth promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach.John Wiley & Sons.
No related posts.