Over the last three decades, the increase in numbers of patients whose first language is something other than English has been outstripping general population growth four to one. Correlating with the increased demand for services in other languages is an explosion of cultural diversity. In the push for health equity there have been ever-increasing legal, ethical, and professional incentives for health care organizations to provide “culturally and linguistically appropriate services” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, 2013) (Adelson, 2014). Training for health care providers (HCPs) in cross-cultural knowledge, strategies, and skills is a challenging proposition in a field where providers are already constrained for time. There is consensus that staff cultural competency training can positively impact HCAHPS scores, reduce patient readmission rates, increase patient compliance, and enhance provider effectiveness. Therefore, the question is not whether cultural competency training should be provided, rather how quickly can staff learn and maintain an approach that can be effectively used in their interactions with patients from all kinds of diverse backgrounds?
This white paper serves to give an overview of the Patient Engagement Model, a three-stage strategy for boosting the communication effectiveness of medical professionals, making their jobs easier while simultaneously enhancing the quality of care for patients regardless of their specific cultural background.