Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 31
November 16, 2006
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Table of Contents
- Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Quality of Care
- Disease Management Q&A: Electronic Tools for Cultural Assessment
- New! HealthSounds Podcast: Cultural Competency in Healthcare
- Disparity in Breast Cancer Outcomes Due to Racially Influenced Tumor Biology
- Cultural Competency in Healthcare: Health Plans and Providers Strive to Speak the Same Language
1. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Quality of Care
By the year 2050, people from minority populations are expected to represent nearly half of the U.S. population. Yet currently, even when they have insurance and are of the same social class, minorities often receive a lower quality of care than do their white counterparts, according to a report on racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare released by the Alliance for Health Reform with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Examining numerous healthcare indicators — ones that measure both process and treatment outcomes — the report found that the overall disparity picture looks somewhat better for African-Americans, but somewhat worse for Latinos. For the types of disparities faced by African-Americans, 58 percent of the measures showed signs of improvement, while 42 percent were widening compared with whites. For disparities experienced by Latinos, however, 41 percent had improved compared with whites, while 59 percent worsened.
To see more of this report's findings, please visit:
2. Disease Management Q&A: Electronic Tools for Cultural Assessment
Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's
query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Loretta Estes, coordinator of cultural and linguistics services at Passport Health Plan.
Question: What are the components of your intranet training and staff testing programs? Also, can you provide a detailed overview and/or samples of your provider toolkits?
Response: Our online test and training resides on our corporate intranet. The training consists of the main information from different class standards and executive orders, like Title VI, for example. We put five multiple choice questions on our intranet and staff select what they think is the right answer.
There are also commercial products that test you and teach you measuring and testing techniques. There are also different programs you can purchase and put on your intranet.
I try to pick up new resources everywhere I go to include in our toolkit. At one conference, I picked up a package put together by the Industry Collaboration Effort (ICE) Cultural and Linguistics Workgroup. The toolkit is called "Better Communication, Better Care" and was created by a coalition of different organizations. It can be downloaded from Western Health Advantage's Web site. If you use this resource, be sure to use their logo.
For more details on cultural concerns such as using technology-based training solutions, translating educational materials, and developing relationships with community organizations, please visit:
We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. New! HealthSounds Podcast: Cultural Competency in Healthcare
In this week's Disease Management podcast, Elisa Batica, cross-cultural health development and training manager with Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, gives her personal perspective on cultural competence and discusses how her organization takes advantage of community resources. In addition, Patti Ludwig-Beymer, administrative director for nursing research and education, Edward Hospital and Health Services, discusses the importance of staff education in building a culturally competent organization and viewing cultural competence as a process rather than an outcome.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
4. Disparity in Breast Cancer Outcomes Due to Racially Influenced Tumor Biology
Malignancies of the breast can be more aggressive and associated with poorer outcome in African-Americans than other races, according to a new study. Reviewing patient data from two different clinical trial protocols to control for healthcare access biases, the study's results point to the possibility that racially influenced tumor biology may contribute to observed racial disparities in breast cancer outcome.
Researchers found that in both treatment groups African-American race was independently associated with poor tumor and clinical characteristics and low survival rates compared to both Caucasian-Hispanic cohorts. For example, African-Americans presented with more advanced disease and were likely to have estrogen-receptor negative tumors.
To learn more about this study, please visit:
5. Cultural Competency in Healthcare: Health Plans and Providers Strive to Speak the Same Language
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, almost 15 percent of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home or have a limited English proficiency. When members of this population fall ill, cultural differences can cause conflicts and misunderstandings between healthcare providers and these patients. A cultural divide can also render communications between a health plan and a member lost in translation.
Increasingly sensitive to the needs of diverse populations, many healthcare organizations are making cultural competency training a mandatory component of staff meetings, new employee orientation sessions and the lunch hour. In a recent online survey conducted by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, health plans and providers detailed how they are interpreting this issue.
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