American Academy of Ophthalmology Web Site: www.aao.org
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Beyond Language Differences

Increasing Cultural Competency In Your Practice to Improve Patient Education, Communication and Compliance

In the ophthalmic practice, the quality of the patient-doctor interaction has a significant impact on the ability of patients to explain their symptoms and concerns and to comply with recommended treatment. It also impacts the patient’s feelings and perceptions about his/her being respected (or disrespected) as an individual, a member of a family, and a member of a cultural group.

 

With the increasingly diverse patient population of today’s ophthalmic practice, understanding cultural differences is vitally important in the doctor/patient relationship and is key to improving patient education, communication and compliance.

 

Key resources

The Providers Guide to Quality and Culture
Developed by the Management Sciences for Health (funded by USAID), US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Bureau of Primary Health Care. Offers discussion of patient-provider interaction, health disparities, cultural groups, culturally competent organizations, and resources.


US Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, offers resources and tools to promote cultural competency in health care. You may access free online courses accredited for continuing education credit as well as supplementary tools to help you and your organization promote respectful, understandable, and effective care to your increasingly diverse patients. A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care is a free online educational program (CME) accredited for physicians, nurses, nurse practicioners, and pharmacists.

News release from Joint Commission on new report discussing need for linguistic and cultural strategies to better serve increasingly diverse patient population in US hospitals

This report reviews the evidence base for the impact of cultural and linguistic competence in health and mental health care on health outcomes and well-being and the costs and benefits to the system. Sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working toward a high performance healthcare system.

Provision of "culturally competent" medical care is one of the strategies advocated for reducing or eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities. This report identifies five domains of culturally competent care that can best be assessed through patients' perspectives: 1) patient–provider communication; 2) respect for patient preferences and shared decision-making; 3) experiences leading to trust or distrust; 4) experiences of discrimination; and 5) linguistic competency. Sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working toward a high performance healthcare system.

Muslim patients may not comply with glaucoma treatment during Ramadan
Basel Al Faouri, MD, presented a poster here that assessed patient compliance with topical glaucoma medication during the fasting month of Ramadan by a survey of patients at the Eye Surgical Hospital in Damascus, Syria. Of the 204 respondents, only 44 percent complied with their prescribed treatment: 11 percent stopped treatment, 32 percent omitted part of their treatment and 13 percent changed the time of treatment but kept up with the frequency of treatment. Factors contributing to non-compliance include, frequency of drop instillation, number of medications prescribed, and educational and occupational status of the patients. Dr. Faouri concludes that tailoring treatment to patients’ religious beliefs will improve compliance.
Academy Express, Sunday, April 1, 2007