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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

ational voluntary consensus standards are widely viewed as the "gold standard" for measuring healthcare quality.

Examples of practices include:

  • Determine and document the linguistic needs of a patient or legal guardian at first points of contact and periodically re-assess throughout the healthcare experience.
  • Implement training that builds a workforce able to address the cultural needs of patients, and to provide appropriate and effective services as required by federal, state and local laws, regulations, and organizational policies.
  • Maintain a current demographic, cultural, and epidemiological profile of the community to accurately plan for and implement services that respond to the cultural characteristics of the service area.

Winston Wong, MD, MS, medical director, community benefit at Kaiser Permanente, and J. Emilio Carrillo, MD, MPH, vice president of community health development at New York Presbyterian Community Health Plan, co-chaired NQF's steering committee on cultural competency.

"Using a 'one size fits all' approach when we are so diverse inevitably leads to unexpected and often bad outcomes and bad healthcare," said Wong. "The practices endorsed by NQF are important steps in a dynamic process of assuring the best care for all individuals and groups, taking in account the diversity of their languages, cultures, and social backgrounds. It's an important and essential package in building a first class quality health care system."

The aim to reduce disparities and create more patient-centered, culturally competent care directly aligns with the goals of the National Priorities Partnership -- a diverse coalition of 28 major national organizations representing those who pay for, receive, provide and evaluate healthcare. NQF is both the convener and a member of this coalition that was formed to t
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SOURCE National Quality Forum
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