How To Improve Cultural Competence In Healthcare?


A healthcare professional must evaluate how culture affects interactions with the healthcare system to understand cultural competency. Patients’ race, religion, language, geographic origin, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, and other social characteristics can vary. Being culturally competent implies being aware of personal prejudices that could impact relationships or care quality. It also requires considering potential gaps due to cultural variations, allowing them to be taken into account to improve cultural competence in healthcare for patient satisfaction and health benefits.

What is Cultural Competence?

The capacity to perform competently within the framework of cultural ideas, behaviors, and expectations offered by consumers and their communities is referred to as “competence.” Cultural competency entails accepting and respecting differences, as well as a continuous self-assessment of culture. It is a focus on the dynamics of difference and resources. Cultural competency is vital in providing legal services for a variety of reasons. The changing demographics of America’s population have forced us to recognize our diversity. Developing culturally responsive practices help in lowering barriers to effective service use.

When trying to welcome a variety of clients, it can be helpful to possess traits that reflect sincerity, empathy, non-possessiveness, acceptance, warmth, and flexibility. To create a candid conversation and rapport, it involves more than willingness to work with clients of different ethnic backgrounds, but also openness about your own personal values, assumptions, and biases about others’ race and socioeconomic class.

Importance Of Cultural Competence In Health Care

Cultural and linguistic competence is defined as a harmonious combination of behaviors, attitudes, and policies inside a system, agency, or among professionals that enables them to operate effectively in varied cultural environments. Language, cognition, communication, conduct, traditions, faith, values, and societal structures of various racial, ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic groups are all linked representations of human behavior.

Incorporating cultural values into patient discussions shows respect and validation, sending a powerful message and potentially fostering a stronger therapeutic relationship. Engaged patients are far more likely to participate in their own care, such as getting diagnostic testing, filling prescriptions, and attending follow-up and referral sessions.

Patient involvement in the treatment plan speeds up a diagnosis and reduces the chances of an overlooked or incorrect diagnosis. Increased patient satisfaction boosts the working environment and raises teamwork to better adherence. Patients and their families may feel more at ease discussing concerns earlier in the process, making them less inclined to seek legal or administrative relief.

Key Principles Of Cultural Competence In Health Care

According to NPIN (National Prevention Information Network), healthcare organizations with cultural competence have numerous characteristics. Primarily, these organizations follow a set of guiding principles, maintain a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with the communities they serve, and display the ability to adapt their understanding of social culture.

Cultural competence entails the assimilation and application of knowledge about people and groups into particular standards, policies, practices, and attitudes tailored for suitable cultural contexts in order to improve outcomes. Key components of cultural competence may include:

  • Dedicated efforts to understand community needs
  • A broad understanding of culture
  • Recognizing language interpretation criteria
  • Cultural competency training for employees and clinicians
  • Incorporation of cultural competency into organizational policies
  • Maintaining leadership development inside organizations

Best Practices To Improve Cultural Competence In Healthcare

If possible, try to hire and retain a diverse workforce. Also, promote cultural awareness, insights, and skills training. Consider using culturally relevant attitudes and values in your marketing and advertising materials. It is also important to make healthcare decisions with the help of family and neighbors. Examine whether opening more hours could be possible and make sure your linguistic ability extends beyond clinical meetings and into areas such as appointment scheduling, medical billing, and written material. Get to know how you can improve cultural competence in healthcare system.

1. Reflect On Yourself

Being more conscious of personal prejudices is one approach to strengthen cultural competence. This is possible if you are more deliberate and present in your interactions with others. When communicating with different genders, patients, colleagues, or acquaintances, consider whether stereotypes have influenced your beliefs or behaviors.

2. Strengthen Communication And Language Barriers

Language is the key to understanding a culture since it contains the values, beliefs, and worldviews of an ethnic group. It is preferable if you can converse in its native language or hire a translator when helping patients with low English competence. You can also use photos, gestures, or textual summaries to increase communication and break down language barriers with your patients.

3. Accept Differences

Recognize how the “person/client” defines health and family, as well as how your own culture influences how you think and behave. Always be mindful of how sociocultural issues affect patients, physicians, and the clinical relationship. Accepting cultural differences in terms of physical distance, bodily appearance, eye contact, and voice rate also helps in accepting cultural differences.

4. Celebrate Cultural Heritage

Celebrate your employees’ and patients’ differences by observing heritage weeks and days. Your team can arrange socially acceptable festivities for Black History Month, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and other interfaith and religious holidays by using a diversity calendar. A multicultural list can be incredibly valuable in this situation.

5. Learn About The Community

Determine the key ethnic groups and languages spoken in the area where you provide services. Get to know whether the patient population is representative of the community. If not, find out why and explore opportunities. Assess the social challenges in the community as well as the available resources. Set up and diversify client relationships to build trust and improve cultural competence. 

6. Analyze The Current Programs

If you currently have diversity education programmers in place, check the effectiveness of your ongoing training programmers. If you notice gaps in your training, it may be time to choose a specialized training programmer focusing on cultural competency in healthcare. With this customized strategy, you can focus on areas where your workforce needs assistance while also appreciating your organization’s progress towards being more culturally competent.

Cultural Competence: A Must Ongoing Commitment

Cultural competency requires ongoing effort, as well as constant learning and flexibility. It requires respecting different points of view and a commitment to provide thorough and equitable treatment. It is a journey, not a destination, with the goal of increasing comprehension and providing excellent services to all. The work requires attentive listening, open communication, and genuine interest in diverse backgrounds, with the goal of improving cultural competence in healthcare for both individuals and communities.

The time has come to get started. When the healthcare sector reaches cultural competency, healthcare employees across the board will be able to comprehend and respond correctly to their own cultural norms. The also get to know how to regard their culture, the patients they are caring for, and the overall health outcomes. 


Cultural competence is not a conventional medical skill; rather, cultural competence is defined by the community, organization, or clinician that it serves. It is not a separate facet of medical care, but an essential component of full professionalism in health care delivery. As the healthcare sector continues to face the consequences of a lack of cultural competence, organizational management should devise a strategy to educate employees and codify that competency into policy. People with persistent conditions who frequently interact with the healthcare system are especially concerned about healthcare quality and satisfaction. Efforts to increase cultural competency among healthcare professionals and organizations will help to improve cultural competence in healthcare.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Most Popular

To Top