Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE - Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Practice Transformation, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy - talks to us about the impact of culture on behaviors and health outcomes ... and why healthcare practitioners need to develop cultural awareness and move toward cultural proficiency to achieve optimal outcomes for the patients they serve.
- Culture is the characteristics, knowledge, and beliefs of a group of people including their shared language, religious/spiritual beliefs, habits, and values. Culture impact beliefs about diseases, medications, and healthcare.
- Many patients are reluctant to tell healthcare providers about their culturally-related health behaviors for fear of being judged or may believe such information is irrelevant.
- Behaviors and beliefs, regardless of source, can impact health outcomes and can augment, detract, or have no impact on the recommended treatment plan.
- Openly discussing beliefs and behaviors is critical. Supporting patient decisions based on their beliefs builds trust.
- Communicating in the patient's preferred language is mandated by law. Use trained interpreters. Have written materials available in the patient's preferred language.
- Cultural awareness and moving toward cultural proficiency makes good business sense as you are better able to understand the needs of your patients.