Cultural Competency and Quality of Care

Obtaining the Patient's Perspective

Published in: The Commonwealth Fund, pub. no. 963, Oct. 2006, 50 p

by Quyen Ngo-Metzger, Joseph Telfair, Dara H. Sorkin, Beverly A. Weidmer, Robert Weech-Maldonado, Margarita Patricia Hurtado, Ron D. Hays

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Provision of culturally competent medical care is one of the strategies advocated for reducing or eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities. This report identifies five domains of culturally competent care that can best be assessed through patients' perspectives: 1) patient-provider communication; 2) respect for patient preferences and shared decision-making; 3) experiences leading to trust or distrust; 4) experiences of discrimination; and 5) linguistic competency. The authors review the literature focusing on these domains, summarize the salient issues and current knowledge, and discuss the policy and research implications. Incorporating patients' perspectives on culturally and linguistically appropriate services into current measures of quality will provide important data and create opportunities for providers and health plans to make improvements.

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