Cultural Competence Implications for Healthcare Providers and Health Disparities
Cultural competence constitutes the provider and organization ability to foster the delivery of health care services in a manner deemed effective. According to the literature, the aim of this process lies in the need to meet linguistic, cultural, and social needs of a population or patients. Given the increasing nature of diversity in contexts such as the U.S., health care providers continue to experience challenges and opportunities. Specifically, additional groups such as policy makers and health care systems are challenged to engage in the creation and delivery of services that are perceived to be culturally competent with the intention of meeting the general aims and specific objectives of health care. Imperative to note is that culturally competent healthy care systems tend to foster improvements in the quality of care and health outcomes, stretching further to yield critical contributions to the elimination of ethnic and racial disparities. The implication for health care providers and practitioners is that an understanding of the relationship between cultural competence and health care outcomes is key to the design of strategies that are relevant and context- or population-specific. From these observations, the success of future health care services lies in the identification of ethnic, racial, and other health disparities, as well as the design of strategies seeking to reverse the adversity towards equal access.