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The Impact of Culture, Communication, and Diversity on Healthcare Administration

Introduction

The United States population has become progressively diverse over the years, posing significant challenges for healthcare practitioners. Healthcare institutions have acknowledged that proper care entails more than making the diagnosis and performing procedures. Communication and cultural diversity have been identified as critical aspects in health care processes in the present times. Healthcare organizations require strong communication networks that can facilitate effectiveness in interactions and improve patients’ well-being. The entities also require competent cultural practices that enhance the quality of care offered to the diverse patient population (Behar-Horenstein et al., 2017). Heath institutions should adopt appropriate policies aimed at improving communication and cultural competence in the present times to offer comprehensive care and quality care services.

The Impact of Culture, Communication, and Diversity on Healthcare Administration

America has been undergoing healthcare reforms to achieve universal access in light of the country undergoing significant demographic changes. The changing demographics play a critical role in health administration and underscore the significance of cultural diversity in a field where the relationship between patients and practitioners are imperative in establishing the quality of care (Purnell & Fenkl, 2019). The interaction between caregivers and patients is a critical relationship that requires a comprehensive understanding of beliefs and values (Behar-Horenstein et al., 2017). Healthcare practitioners acknowledge the fact that patients’ population has changed over the years, and this reality influences the healthcare practice.

Current statistics from us census bureau have indicated that there is a need to facilitate cultural diversity in the healthcare sector. By 2043, the minority groups in the US population will make up the majority of the inhabitants. Furthermore, by 2060, one in every three citizens will be Hispanic. Besides, the Hispanic population is expected to increase by more than half. The number of African Americans will increase by 14.7% by 2060. The Asian American population will double (Behar-Horenstein et al., 2017). Overall, the women population is higher than men (Parker, Stack, Schneider, Bowman, Broderick, Brown, & Herman, 2017). These numbers prove that the number of international immigrants will continue to grow. Therefore, learning institutions and health organization need to improve diversity to reflect the patient population adequately.

The healthcare sector, specifically nursing, has been traditionally made up of white women in the middle-age years, but changes have continued to be observed in the workforce. Younger individuals are joining healthcare professions (Setiloane, 2016). Healthcare students are receiving training on how to work with patients from varying backgrounds. The practice is known as cultural competency that has gained popularity in the academic sector. Learners belonging to diverse backgrounds should be taught on how they should attend to patients from diverse religions, races, sexual orientation and race.

Healthcare experts have stated that cultural diversity should be emphasized to minimize health disparities experienced currently (Weech-Maldonado et al., 2018). Most health professionals have failed keep in line with the changes in demographics resulting in disparities in health outcomes and access. While the overall quality of health has improved, not all Americans have profited from the advancements. People from minority groups have been pointed to lag behind in terms of access to care, timeliness and the treatment outcomes. Moreover, minority populations have been identified to be affected by specific obstacles related to poor communication, provider impartiality and health literacy factors.

Health institutions have been influenced to embrace cultural competence and diversity to achieve improved care. Additionally, medical schools have centred on cultural diversity and competence as leading areas of study that will shape the future of healthcare administration (Weech-Maldonado et al., 2018). Furthermore, health institutions have been influenced to view cultural diversity as a way of improving the quality of health outcomes instead of an end goal.

Culture is at the heart of health administration as it determines how healthcare providers and patients view illness and health. Medical practitioners’ perception of both concepts establishes how both parties address health care provision. Culture impacts on the healthcare practitioners’ and patients’ understanding of the causes of diseases. For instance, some ethnic groups believe that evil spirits cause illnesses, an aspect that might be hard to comprehend for healthcare professionals. As a result, healthcare institutions have been mandated to train their staff to improve cultural competence (McGregor et al., 2019). Culture defines the illnesses that are stigmatized in some communities and come up with the approach that can be adopted in addressing varying health issues. Chronic illnesses are closely associated with culture as it dictates varying treatment options and disease understanding. Culture also influences the interaction between patients and practitioners, which requires health institutions to train caregivers to handle clients from varying ethnic backgrounds competently. Therefore, healthcare practitioners should include culture in their activities to improve the quality of care and attain better outcomes.

Communication is an imperative element that ensures that patients get the proper care. Effective communication paves the way for accurate information sharing among health specialists. The concept also allows healthcare practitioners to treat patients from different cultural backgrounds (Setiloane, 2016). Healthcare institutions are required to improve their communication channels as it affects treatment outcomes. Thus, poor communication has been identified to be a leading factor that has contributed to medical malpractices and death in some instances. Consequently, healthcare institutions have increased their focus on better communication methods aimed at benefiting healthcare providers and patients. Effective communication has been viewed to be a way of facilitating efficiency, reducing operational costs and protecting patients. Clients have been observed to benefit from a reduction in medical errors and access to medical histories.

When evaluating the impact of communication on health administration, patient safety has been identified to be one of the reasons why the concept is imperative (Setiloane, 2016). Communication inadequacies have been identified to be one of the factors that result in malpractices and death. Healthcare institutions have been needed to work on their communication channels to address preventable errors to improve patient safety.

Two forms of communication are considered while analyzing healthcare administration (Setiloane, 2016). First, inter-hospital communication entails sharing information among institutions and multiple sites. The transportation of valuable medical equipment and sending medical records calls for well-defined communication lines. Hospitals experience challenges communicating efficiently with each other, resulting in an increase in communication costs as institutions are barred from accessing patients’ medical files, creating a necessity for second opinions and duplicate tests. On the other hand, intra-hospital communication takes place within the same institutions and touches on different topics such as setting appointments, assigning tests, scheduling surgeries and the coordination of room changes. When healthcare practitioners fail to share information proficiently, efficiency declines, which may cause patients’ harm. Health administration requires effective communication to attain the desired health outcomes.

Diversity influences healthcare administration in various ways. Diversity entails various concepts including religion, ethnicity and race that have gained prominence owing to the highly diverse population (Setiloane, 2016). Health organizations at different levels offer guidelines to increase awareness of diversity issues among practitioners. Further, hospitals have been required to offer additional non-medical services, including the provision of specific types of food, the accommodation of patients’ needs in line with religious requirements and dressing in a particular way. Health institutions work towards addressing the diverse needs of the population and sometimes assume that the ethnic minorities are a uniform block while failing to identify the needs of specific groups of people. This objective is attained through the application of policy change and adherence to the diverse demands imposed by organizations.

Health institutions have been required to train their staff regarding the diversity that exists in the US population and how they can address the subject adequately. Understanding patients’ needs from different racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds requires the staff to be aware of the differences and how to address them competently. Therefore, health institutions have been required to invest more in training the current workforce to promote cultural competence (Young & Guo, 2016). Further, the entities have been required to employ a diverse workforce that increases cultural competence within organizations. Hospitals have been required to invest more in their recruitment process by employing individuals from diverse religious and racial backgrounds. Diversity among health practitioners has gained significance over the years as hospitals have acknowledged its implications on health outcomes. Learning institutions also target students from diverse religious and ethnic groups to increase diversity in healthcare professions in future. Learning and health provision institutions are expected to be at the center stage of addressing diversity in health administration.

Recommendations of Actions or Process to Improve Diversity and Cultural Competence

Stakeholders in healthcare should take up a collective role to increase cultural competence and diversity to attain quality health outcomes (McGregor et al., 2019). Health organizations can undertake various effective actions and processes. Cultural competence is an ongoing process within health organizations that can be attained by training health professionals on how they can offer culturally competent services. Training courses should be implemented across the country consistently as the issue of diversity has affected the country collectively (Young & Guo, 2016). Notably, cultural competence is an end goal that is based on the experience and knowledge that has been attained over the years.

Health organizations should pursue cultural competence by adopting training approaches that can be applied across the globe for combining the cross-cultural skill-based standpoint and teach facts about various groups (McGregor et al., 2019). Approaches that concentrate on improving awareness about various ethnic groups and focus on the behaviors and health beliefs ought to be encouraged. Nonetheless, concerned parties should understand that the approach may result in disregarding variations in groups and stereotyping. For instance, the strategy may lead to the generalization that all Latinos share common behaviors and beliefs. Health institutions should acknowledge that getting information about all cultures is challenging. Consequently, the training perspectives should concentrate on limited facts, which are best used together with universal approaches (Young & Guo, 2016). For instance, skills, including medical-history taking and communication, can be applied to a diverse patient population. Medical practitioners should be encouraged to develop the appropriate attitude that fosters a positive relationship with the patients. Curiosity, respect and empathy are the leading values that should be developed to improve practitioner’s competence in a diverse environment. Professional organizations should also outline guidelines for health organizations to achieve cultural competence. These bodies protect patients and represent the interests of healthcare practitioners through research and training efforts, as expressed by Young and Guo (2016). The best example of a professional organization committed to increasing cultural competence in healthcare is the American Medical Association that is abbreviated as AMA that offers training materials and information to the stakeholders.

Professional organizations offer guidelines that health institutions should adhere to attain cultural competence. These organizations represent health professionals, including pediatricians, medical doctors, social workers, psychologists and physicians who have played a critical role in facilitating culturally competent policies through training efforts and research (Young & Guo, 2016). For example, the AMA (American Medical Association) offers resources and information on the guideline, training materials, curriculum and essential stakeholder functions.

Different organizations have come up with competent cultural guidelines that should be followed by their members. Health organizations should adhere to these procedures to improve their attitude in various areas. These policies include tolerance and respect for cultural differences, acknowledgement of personal cultures against varying cultures, the willingness to make healthcare institutions more accessible, and the awareness of the impact of sociocultural factors on the relationship between clinicians and patients. Furthermore, the policies entail the acceptance of the doctors’ role to understand the cultural aspects of illness and health and the function that health practitioners play in addressing homophobia, sexism, ageism, racism and discrimination that takes place in healthcare facilities. Health organizations should strive to apply these professional recommendations to increase cultural competence.

Accreditation standards that promote cultural competence should be applied in learning institutions and health organizations (Behar-Horenstein et al., 2017). These approval standards are valuable tools that can be used to have widespread impacts on cultural competence. Thus, learning institutions should equip learners with the skills on how to comprehend different cultures and belief systems empowering them to respond to the issues that emerge in healthcare. Students should also be in a position to acknowledge and address gender and racial biases in healthcare delivery (Betancourt et al., 2016). The application of these recommendations will improve cultural competence in healthcare teams.

Maximizing diversity with healthcare organizations is a critical process in improving cultural competence (Behar-Horenstein et al., 2017). Therefore, health organizations should employ various actions and recommendations to promote diversity in the workforce. Health organizations should hire and promote health workers from minority populations to serve the diverse patient population more effectively. The practitioners should come up with initiatives that are aimed at minority leadership development and strengthen the existing programs. This move is aimed at giving health practitioners an extensive role in serving the diverse patient population. The health workforce should be made up of practitioners that reflect the desires of community members. Therefore, health institutions should incorporate the feedback offered by the community while constituting the workforce. Health organizations should collect relevant information about patients’ language preferences and offer bilingual and bicultural services. Moreover, hospitals should collect data on race and ethnicity of patients to gain a better understanding of how they can enhance care. Finally, ethnic and racial disparities should be monitored using data to establish the areas that need improvements.

Conclusion

The American population has become increasingly diverse, an aspect that calls for health institutions to come up with initiatives that promote cultural competence and diversity in the workforce to improve the quality of care patients receive. Health leaders should take a pivotal role in controlling culture, communication and diversity in organizations. The front-runners should act in line with the recommendations that have been found to be efficient in various health context to attain cultural competence and promote diversity. Therefore, stakeholders in healthcare should work in collaboration with leaders in light of the increased diversity in the population to achieve improved and satisfactory health outcomes.



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