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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Physicians Not Prepared for Today’s Diverse Nation
04/03/2006

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association addresses a problem that should be of considerable concern to Texans, since we live in a populous and growing border state. The report finds that new physicians are receiving inadequate training, education and mentoring to provide quality care to an increasingly diverse nation.

In a survey of resident physicians in their final year of training at major U.S. hospitals, 96 percent said it is important to address cross-cultural issues but only one in four said they were prepared to deal with newly arrived immigrants or patients whose health beliefs were at odds with Western medicine.

Twenty percent said they are ill-equipped to address cases where religious beliefs affected care. Twenty-five percent said they had inadequate skills to identify and respond to relevant cultural customs impacting care.

Two recent reports from the Institute of Medicine highlight the importance of patient-centered care and cross-cultural training as a means of improving quality and eliminating persistent racial and ethnic disparities. There is evidence that patient-physician communication is directly linked to patient satisfaction, adherence and overall quality.

Next week, we’ll take a look at how far behind Texas is in addressing cultural needs and what needs to be done to close the gap.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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