What is Culture?


Group Culture

A pattern of shared assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration. This pattern has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems and in relation to each group member. In short, culture is the myriad ways of perceiving and organizing the world that are held in common by a group of people and passed on interpersonally and inter generationally.


Fundamentals of Healthcare Competency

  • Acknowledging, Respecting and Managing Evidentiary Cultural Phenomena
  • Engaging in Cultural Self Assessment
  • Displaying Awareness of the Dynamics Inherent When Cultures Interact
  • Acquiring Institutionalized Cultural Knowledge
  • Designing Adaptations of Service Delivery Reflecting an Understanding of Cultural Phenomena

Current Practice

  • The concept of tailoring healthcare isn't a new one. Medical specialties already exist based on:
  • Age – Pediatrics, Geriatrics
  • Gender – OBGYN and Prostatitis
  • Ethnicity (primarily) Crohn’s Disease and Sickle Cell

Effective Strategies

  • Provider clinicians who encounter care receivers with healthcare belief systems different from
  • their own, should not attempt to change those beliefs or discredit them
  • Providers should find ways to acknowledge those beliefs and link contemporary medical
  • therapies to the care receiver's perception regarding the etiology of their illness and the roles
  • and expectations of the care receiver to attain wellness
  • Outcomes improve where there is acknowledgment of the cultural orientations of the care
  • providers. This affirms appreciation of the cultural healthcare differences apparent or not
  • disclosed by the care receiver.

Seven Dimensions of Healthcare Quality

  • Efficacy: Is the procedure useful?
  • Appropriateness: Is it right for this care receiver?
  • Accessibility: Can the care receiver obtain it?
  • Acceptability: Does the care receiver want it?
  • Effectiveness: Is it carried out sensitively?
  • Efficiency: Is it carried out in a cost-effective way?
  • Continuity: Did it progress without interruption, with appropriate follow-up, exchange of information and referral?

Desired Outcome

Cultural competency creates a compelling case for understanding the different ways care receivers act in a clinical setting and for effectively communicating with care receivers to ensure the best possible clinical outcome.