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National Quality Forum Endorses Guidelines to Reduce Disparities in Healthcare and Make Care Patient-Centered and Culturally Appropriate
Date:2/23/2009

Practices provide guidance for healthcare systems in areas like leadership, care delivery, workforce training and community engagement

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum (NQF), an organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality, has endorsed 45 practices to guide healthcare systems in providing care that is culturally appropriate and patient-centered. The practices cover issues like communication, community engagement and workforce training, and provide healthcare systems with practices they can implement to help reduce persistent disparities in healthcare and create higher quality more patient-centered care.

Racial and ethnic minorities continue to face disproportionately higher rates of disease, disability, and mortality. African Americans have higher death rates from heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, and cancer, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives have lower life expectancies and higher rates of infant mortality.

"Truly high-quality care is also culturally competent care," said Janet Corrigan, NQF president and CEO. "Providing culturally appropriate healthcare services not only has the potential to improve outcomes, but also increase efficiency and creates greater satisfaction among patients."

The new NQF cultural competency practices suggest patient-centered and culturally appropriate approaches for healthcare systems in leadership, care delivery, workforce training, management systems, communication, data collection and quality improvement, and community engagement. Individual guidelines suggest efforts such as partnering with community organizers to reach diverse populations; translating written materials into languages used by the local community; and implementing strategies to recruit and retain employees across all levels of the healthcare system that are reflective of local community demographics.

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SOURCE National Quality Forum
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