The term “health system” refers to the “organization of institutions, resources, and professionals that offer sustainable services to support the medical needs of the target population” (Morris, 2014, p. 16). This definition explains why there are numerous types of health systems. For instance, the nature of laws and care delivery models in a given nation define its healthcare system. The selected healthcare system for this discussion is comprised of primary hospitals and institutions that deliver medical care to different patients. Primary healthcare is a system that uses evidence-based, sustainable, and scientifically sound models to ensure quality care is accessible to different people in the community (Murcia & Lopez, 2016). Having selected this healthcare system, it can be easier to identify a unique issue that should be addressed at the management level in order to ensure quality and evidence-based care is available to more individuals. The issue selected for this paper is that of cultural diversity.
Reasons for Selecting the Issue
Universal access is one of the goals targeted by different stakeholders in healthcare. It is agreeable that the American population has been characterized by different racial groups. Moreover, the demographics and population ratios in the United States have changed significantly within the past five decades (Dong, 2012). These changes indicate clearly that cultural diversity has become a reality in the country. Unfortunately, most of the healthcare workers and professionals have not identified the best concepts to ensure every medical care delivery model is informed by this kind of diversity. Most of the practitioners in the country are unaware of the relevance of cultural diversity in healthcare practice. This gap explains why universal access to medical care might not become a reality in the near future.
On the other hand, some nursing and medical learning institutions in the United States have been attracting more learners from different cultural backgrounds. This strategy will make it easier for the nation to develop its healthcare workforce. Despite these measures taken in the country, the outstanding fact is that health disparity still remains a major challenge. The country’s health practitioners and professionals have failed to identify the “best initiatives in order to keep the pace with the changing demographics” (Dong, 2012, p. 12). This issue of cultural diversity has been selected because it has been ignored by many professionals within the past three decades. A detailed analysis of the issue can guide managers and policymakers in healthcare to implement stringent measures to ensure more patients from diverse backgrounds receive quality care.
Relating the Issue to Healthcare Management
The current statistics in the United States show conclusively that cultural diversity is something that must be taken seriously than ever before. From the year 1990 to 2010, the percentage of Latinos in America grew by over 42 percent (Raman, 2015). On the other hand, the “non-Hispanic population in the country has not grown fast within the past twenty years” (Raman, 2015, p. 109). The number of Asian Americans has also increased significantly in the country. The current number of Asian Americans is around 14.7 million (Raman, 2015). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, chances are high that the current minority groups in the country will become the majority in the near future (Raman, 2015). The number of immigrants from different countries across the globe will increase significantly within the next twenty years.
Despite the nature of these changes, the healthcare workforce is not designed to meet the unique needs of the nation’s racial groups. It is agreeable that the largest number of healthcare workers in the country is from specific racial groups. These professionals might not be aware of the unique needs and cultural expectations of their patients from different backgrounds (Breda, 2012). This gap has the potential to affect the quality of healthcare services available to these individuals.
A report released in 2003 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) indicated clearly that the American healthcare system had been characterized by inequality and discrimination (Dong, 2012). The social, health, and economic needs of minority groups such as African Americans and Latinos were not taken seriously. Cases of prejudice or bias have been recorded in different healthcare institutions across the nation (Morris, 2014). These developments can therefore be used to explain why the nature of cultural diversity should be considered whenever focusing on the best healthcare policies (Dong, 2012).
Senior management in the primary healthcare system should consider the issue of cultural diversity in an attempt to transform the situation experienced in the United States. The duty of hospitals and medical institutions is provide safe, evidence-based, quality, and sustainable care (Breda, 2012). That being the case, the issue of cultural diversity is necessary because it can make it easier for hospital managers to implement powerful care delivery models. The players in the primary care system in the United States can identify competent physicians and practitioners who can deliver quality medical support.
The senior managers in different hospitals and institutions can analyze the ideas deeply in order to attract more professionals from different backgrounds. The managers will go further to mentor and educate their followers in order to develop cultural competence skills (Dong, 2012). Such competencies will make it easier for the healthcare workers to address the challenges affecting their respective patients. When this issue is taken seriously, more patients from different cultural backgrounds will eventually receive adequate quality care (Murcia & Lopez, 2016). Additionally, the managers in these institutions can promote new policies that have the potential to transform the situation and empower more citizens.
How the Issue Impact the Primary Health System
Cultural diversity is a major issue that will definitely inform the future of primary healthcare delivery in the United States and beyond (Murcia & Lopez, 2016). To begin with, different policies have emerged in an attempt to ensure more patients and underserved receive quality care. Experts also believe strongly that new laws and regulations might emerge in the future in order to transform the quality of health services available to more citizens.
The seriousness of cultural diversity has led to the creation and promotion of different laws in order to empower many healthcare professionals and patients. The first policy is the cultural competence in healthcare (O’Connell et al., 2013). This is a new policy that has been embraced within the wider healthcare sector in order to ensure physicians and practitioners possess adequate cultural competence skills. By so doing, the learning process has been redesigned to equip the targeted students with the right competencies. Many graduates find it easier to implement the concept of cultural competence in their respective healthcare or nursing philosophies. This kind of policy has been supported by many professionals, healthcare institutions, and legislators.
Cultural diversity policy is the other law or requirement that is embraced in different hospitals in an attempt to support the emerging health needs of many patients. This kind of policy has been implemented in different institutions to dictate the healthcare practices and initiatives that can support the needs of every population (O’Connell et al., 2013). Although many health institutions have not embraced this policy, the agreeable fact it will dictate the future of primary healthcare practice in the United States.
Implications on Future Healthcare Practice
The above two policies have the potential to transform the quality of nursing care in different healthcare settings. When the policies are implemented in a balanced manner, more practitioners and physicians will be equipped with cultural competent skills and eventually become competent providers of quality services to the largest number of patients (O’Connell et al., 2013). The learning process will also be redesigned in such a way that it supports the emerging needs of many students. The learners will acquire numerous skills and competencies that can make them skilled providers of medical care.
The Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project can be taken seriously in order to prepare competent nurses who can deal with the issues arising from cultural diversity. The curriculum will be redesigned in such a way that it “prepares competent nurses who have the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs)” (O’Connell et al., 2013, p. 349). Some of the key KSAs outlined under the QSEN project include safety, use of informatics, quality improvement, teamwork and collaboration, and patient-centered care (Morris, 2014). Nurses and practitioners who possess these KSAs will be able to offer culturally competent care to more patients from diverse backgrounds.
The major stakeholders involved in the primary healthcare delivery practice have the potential to transform the situation by embracing various strategies. The stakeholders can consider the current statistics and issues affecting the country’s diverse population (O’Connell et al., 2013). This knowledge will ensure the primary healthcare system identifies the unique gaps that affect the quality of culturally competent medical services available to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The policies can also be expanded in such a way that they involve different members of the community. These people will present useful ideas and notions that can be used to develop evidence-based care delivery models. Such models will ensure the cultural attributes, values, and religious beliefs of every American citizen are taken seriously (Morris, 2014). More people will also find it easier to receive quality healthcare support. Consequently, the country’s healthcare sector will be reformed in order to address the health needs of more people.
Change Process for Senior Management
Senior management in different healthcare institutions should be on the frontline to implement new changes in an attempt to redefine their organizational strategic plans. The current issue of cultural diversity presents both problems and opportunities for the wider healthcare system. This is the case because the changing demographics pose a unique challenge to the healthcare system. It is also notable that the current system is not adequately prepared to meet the needs of these individuals. Fortunately, the issue of diversity can be tapped to attract more professionals from such racial groups (O’Connell et al., 2013). These new professionals will make it easier for more healthcare institutions to meet the needs of more patients from diverse cultural groups. A detailed analysis of these cultural groups can ensure new models are developed to address the health needs of many underserved populations.
Senior managers in different healthcare institutions should implement a powerful change model in order to improve efficiency in the care delivery process. The best change model is known as Kurt Lewin’s theory. The model begins by unfreezing. During this stage, the managers will educate their patients and followers about the importance of culturally competent strategies in the healthcare delivery process (Morris, 2014). This can be achieved through the use of seminars, training, and guidance. This approach can prepare and empower the healthcare workers to offer quality services that can meet the changing needs of many patients from diverse backgrounds.
The second phase is implementing the change. The concept of cultural competence can be embraced during this stage in order to ensure the healthcare practitioners identify the best practices that can improve the outcomes of more patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. When this kind of change is implemented, the healthcare practitioners will implement powerful strategies that can improve efficiency in the targeted hospital. The major competencies or skills outlined within the QSEN project should also be considered during the phase (Breda, 2012). The strategy will ensure the practitioners provide culturally competent, safe, and evidence-based care to their respective patients. This goal can be realized through the use of interpreters to break the existing language barrier. Multidisciplinary teams will also be developed to maximize care delivery.
The last stage is known as refreezing. During this phase, the implemented culturally sensitive healthcare model will become part of the hospital. More primary care institutions within the wider healthcare sector will embrace the change in order to support the diverse needs of their patients (Murcia & Lopez, 2016). The approach will increase efficiency and support every underserved racial group in the country.
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