Cultural Competency ‘Paramount’ in Delivering Adequate Medical Care, AAOS Diversity Board Chair Says in Interview
The Orange County Register on Tuesday featured an interview with American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Diversity Board Chair Ramon Jimenez, who discussed the importance of cultural competency in medical care.
AAOS has launched its own culturally competent care program, which seeks to educate physicians on cultural sensitivity in an effort to improve quality of care. In the interview, Jimenez said the cultural competency in medical care is "paramount at this time, particularly when we realize that the minority population will reach 50% in the U.S. in the next 30 years." He added, "I'm not saying that every doctor needs to know the nuances about every race and ethnicity. But we need educational materials so we can give patients from different cultures ideas on what to expect in their treatment and so on. After all, just because you learn about an Asian patient's needs, you can't be expected to know about the cultural differences of 33 Asian countries."
According to Jimenez, a "patient should be able to rely on the doctor's cultural knowledge" to deliver adequate care because only 7% of communication is verbal. In addition, Jimenez said, "Patients who get turned off trying to talk to a doctor or cope with the health care system itself may wait until problems become greater before seeking treatment. This means greater financial expense and use of the health care system" (Haas, Orange County Register, 11/27).