Researchers Create Tool to Measure Cultural Competency Among Health Care Providers

Researchers from the College of Nursing at Washington State University are developing a tool to measure cultural competency among health care providers. While cultural sensitively is a part of the curriculum for most health care professions, this project is unique in that it tackles the issue from the patient’s point of view.

“If you’re providing health care to someone who has a different view or culture than you, you want to be able to respect them, provide them with care that feels safe to them,” said Dr. Janet Katz. Previous research has shown that patients who feel comfortable with their health care provider in that way are more satisfied with their care, which leads to better health outcomes. It is hoped that greater cultural sensitivity can lead to a narrowing of racial health disparities.

The research team created a survey and have sent it to a panel of experts, who will offer revisions to the questionnaire. After that, the researchers can launch a pilot project. The scholars believe their measuring tool could lead to further research such as measuring the cultural competence of health care providers on a broad scale, or comparing how a provider sees his or her cultural competence compared with how their patient sees it.

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