Diversity & Inclusion in Healthcare Boosts Patient Experience

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) is a relatively new term in healthcare. Diversity refers to human differences that make each person unique. These can include differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical value systems and more. Inclusion refers to the involvement and empowerment of all individuals, regardless of the differences among them.   

By putting the concept of diversity and inclusion into practice, organizations have seen great benefits. For example, a study by Tufts University revealed diverse groups are better at collaborative decision making than homogenous groups. Another study by McKinsey & Company found that diverse executive teams yield on average 50% more return on equity. In healthcare, D & I helps ensure patients experience meaningful outcomes. 

D & I in Healthcare

Diversity and inclusion in healthcare leads to improvements in access to care for the underserved and enhances the ability of the entire workforce to provide culturally and linguistically competent care for all people.

Diversity is something you have. Inclusion is something you practice. In healthcare, the practice of inclusion includes providing language access services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients.

Current Joint Commission Requirements and D & I:

The Joint Commission is responsible for accrediting medical services and surveys on diversity awareness and inclusion practices. Being informed of past and current publications is necessary for the continued understanding of D & I in the health care setting. When it comes to language services, the Joint Commission provides a great resource to help ensure healthcare facilities are compliant with federal requirements: Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals.

The first step to improving D & I in your facility is to be aware of differences in the patient population. Then check to see what inclusion resources are currently being utilized and how they can be optimized to improve the patient experience.

Your D & I Checklist

  • Do you know the demographics of your area?

  • Do you know your top 15 languages?

  • Do you have the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) distinction?

  • Do you have interpretation services?

  • Are the patient population voices being heard?

  • Have you educated your providers on inclusion best-practices?

  • Are you using your inclusion resources like language access services?

For more tips on how you can improve D & I at your facility, tune into an educational webinar hosted by Cynthia Garcia Magallanes, Language Operations Manager at Stratus Video. The presentation includes how diversity and inclusion affects patient outcomes as well as the importance of developing a comprehensive language services plan.

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