First impressions - Lynne Carter's view of Quality health care for culturally diverse populations
14 March 2013

After my first day at the conference I’m struck by the similarities with the challenges we face whether in the UK or the USA. During my presentation I felt at times like I was speaking a foreign language, especially when I was explaining what a PCT does and what commissioning is!

Discussion with participants revealed broad agreement about the need for good data to show that health inequalities (or health disparities in the USA) exist and that data, especially ethnic monitoring data, is often collected but then not used and that many staff appreciate training in how to gather this data from patients.

The other presenters in this workshop talked about the development of the electronic health record to record patients’ language requirements both to meet individual need and to monitor compliance with state regulations on language assistance. In the USA it is illegal not to provide interpreters for patients who need them. The difficulties in getting the major patient record software provider to do this and then share the resulting improvements with other users reminded me of my struggle to get SystmOne improved so that disabled patients access requirements can be flagged.

The other presenter talked about his work to develop a computer program to predict patients ethnicity from a combination of surname, first name and where they live. This was so accurate that letters were sent out in certain languages or with culturally specific info. This is a real improvement on similar software we’ve used that did not identify people of African Caribbean heritage.

I also attended useful sessions on video interpreting, a project to improve uptake of bowel cancer screening by ethnic minority people, e-learning in cultural competence for doctors that includes a measurement of how likely patients are to trust them if they behave or communicate in certain ways and models of “cultural humility” training.

West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit

West Yorkshire office:
Douglas Mill
Bowling Old Lane
West Yorkshire

Tel: 0845 1115000

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw office:
722 Prince of Wales Road
South Yorkshire
S9 4EU

Tel: 0114 3051000

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