The National Quality Forum has endorsed 45 changes it said doctors and hospitals should make to reduce disparities and provide more culturally competent medical care. More than 22 million U.S. residents speak limited English, and 34 million were born in another country, according to the American Medical Association’s Ethical Force Program.
The NQF standards, adopted in late February, cover areas ranging from leadership and management systems to patient communication and health care work force diversity. A comprehensive approach is critical to improving the care that patients with low health literacy and different cultural expectations receive, said Winston Wong, MD, who co-chaired the committee that endorsed the best practices first developed by other health care organizations.
“One does not just go through a checklist and declare the organization as culturally competent,” said Dr. Wong, director of the disparities improvement and quality initiative at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. “It needs to be a dynamic process.”
The whole shebang.