HRET logo, click here to go to the site home page

Transforming health care
through research and education

Hospitals in the Pursuit of Excellence logo, click here to go to the HPOE home page
Skip main navigation

Quality/Cost/Disparities

Management research to provide operational advice on improving quality, reducing costs and eliminating disparities.

Bucket/Section Image

Building a Culturally Competent Organization:
The Quest for Equity in Health Care

Building a Culturally Competent Organizations:  The Quest for Equity in Health Care

Cultural competency in health care describes the ability of systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including the tailoring of health care delivery to meet patients' social, cultural and linguistic needs. A culturally competent health care system is one that acknowledges the importance of culture, incorporates the assessment of cross-cultural relations, recognizes the potential impact of cultural differences, expands cultural knowledge, and adapts services to meet culturally unique needs. Ultimately, cultural competency is recognized as an essential means of reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

This guide explores the concept of cultural competency and builds the case for the enhancement of cultural competency in health care. It offers seven recommendations for improving cultural competency in health care organizations:

  1. Collect race, ethnicity and language preference (REAL) data.
  2. Identify and report disparities.
  3. Provide culturally and linguistically competent care.
  4. Develop culturally competent disease management programs.
  5. Increase diversity and minority workforce pipelines.
  6. Involve the community.
  7. Make cultural competency an institutional priority.

Also included are self-assessment checklists for hospital leaders and a list of relevant cultural competency resources.

This information, coupled with several case studies from high-performing hospitals, will help guide hospital leaders as they seek to improve the quality, efficacy, and equity of care within their own institutions through advances in cultural competency.

Terms of Use  | Privacy Policy

©2006-2016 by the American Hospital Association. All rights reserved. Noncommercial use of original content on www.aha.org is granted to AHA Institutional Members, their employees and State, Regional and Metro Hospital Associations unless otherwise indicated. AHA does not claim ownership of any content, including content incorporated by permission into AHA produced materials, created by any third party and cannot grant permission to use, distribute or otherwise reproduce such third party content. To request permission to reproduce AHA content, please click here.