Cross-cultural competence is an increasingly important clinical skill due to two interrelated factors. First, the U.S. continues to receive unprecedented numbers of foreign-born immigrants. Second, Americans are traveling to more exotic and remote locations around the world and bringing back diseases specific to those areas. As medicine becomes more global in its outlook, physicians must adapt.

Few practicing physicians in the U.S. have had any formal training on cross-cultural medical care. Medical journals report that many physicians do not feel prepared to provide specific aspects of cross-cultural care, including caring for patients whose health beliefs were at odds with Western medicine (25%), new immigrants (25%) and patients whose religious beliefs affect treatment (20%).

Critical Measures provider cultural competence assessment covers six major areas:

  1. Extent of formal training in cross-cultural medicine
  2. Opinions regarding health disparities
  3. Self-assessed preparedness to treat immigrants, LEP patients and patients whose health beliefs may be at odds with Western medicine
  4. Knowledge of and adherence to language access laws and institutional policies and procedures regarding language access (including formal training on how to work with LEP patients through qualified interpreters)
  5. Knowledge of and adherence to national best practices in cross-cultural medicine
  6. Interest in receiving additional training in cross-cultural medicine

This survey can be administered electronically in order to minimize the impact on providers’ time. Our survey takes, on average, only 5-8 minutes to complete. Past provider surveys have shown that:

  • Few providers have had any formal training in cross-cultural medicine but substantial majorities would like to receive such training.
  • Significant numbers of providers believe that they are less than well prepared to provide care to immigrant and refugee patients, patients who speak languages other than English and whose religious or cultural values may be at odds with Western medicine.
  • Most providers are not familiar with current language access laws, hospital language access policies or had formal training on how to work with interpreters.
  • Most providers do not demonstrate behaviors in accord with national best practices for treating culturally diverse patients.
  • Providers’ practice behaviors with respect to patients of color and LEP frequently raise concerns about patient communication, safety, informed consent and risk management.

An assessment of cultural and linguistic competence among providers is part of a complete assessment process. Please contact us for details.