Racial, ethnic, religious and social groups have diverse:
A person’s culture includes all these things. Having competency means we can function effectively in the context of these diverse cultural factors that our members and their communities represent. The goals of cultural competency? To increase the quality of services, to reduce health care disparities and to improve health outcomes.
Patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes are linked to good communication between members and providers. Each segment of our population requires special sensitivities and strategies to embrace cultural differences. Culturally competent providers:
Effectively communicate with patients
Understand their individual concerns
Ensure patients understand their care plans
Help us ensure that members receive covered services without concern for:
Ability to pay
Ability to speak English
Mental or physical disability
Participating providers treat all members with dignity and respect, as required by federal law. This includes:
Honoring members’ beliefs
Being sensitive to cultural diversity
Fostering respect for members’ cultural backgrounds
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V, defines health literacy as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.
In short, how well can patients find, understand and use information to make good decisions? Anyone who provides health info and services to others also needs health literacy skills to:
Help people find info and services
Communicate about health and health care
Process what people are explicitly and implicitly asking for
Understand how to provide useful info and services
Decide which info and services work best for different situations and people, so they can act in their own best interest
Here are a variety of learning opportunities on cultural competency and health literacy.
The Patient Safety Network (PSNet) offers Effective Communication Tools for Healthcare Professionals: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency, and Limited English Proficiency. This online course can help you communicate better with patients who have poor English skills and limited health literacy.
The Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit is a free set of tools to help primary care practices improve interactions between patients and staff.
AHRQ also offers two guides for defining cultural needs in managed care and creating services for them:
A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care is an online program. The American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians endorse this program. And it provides up to 9 hours of category 1 AMA credits at no cost.
ICE also provides guidance to help you comply with new interpreter quality standards requirements (PDF) for the use of bilingual and multilingual staff as interpreters.
This ICE communications toolkit focuses on creating culturally sensitive materials (PDF). It can help you remain compliant with the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
Aetna Better Health of Maryland is not responsible or liable for content, accuracy or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites. If you did not intend to leave our site, click or tap the "x" in the upper right-hand corner.
This link will take you to the Aetna Better Health® of Maryland provider website. It contains information for health care professionals. If you don't want to leave the member site, click or tap the "x" in the upper right-hand corner.
This link will take you to the main Aetna® Medicaid website (AetnaBetterHealth.com). Aetna Better Health of Maryland is not responsible or liable for this specific content.