Gender and geographical diversity are rising in the U.S. This proves to be both an opportunity and a challenge to healthcare providers, systems, and policymakers in delivering culturally competent services and inclusive care.

What is Inclusion in Healthcare?

It refers to the ability of healthcare service providers and organizations to efficiently meet a patient’s social, cultural, and linguistic needs. Not only does this lead to improved healthcare outcomes, but it also contributes to improving the bottom line and helps foster trust in healthcare providers.

That brings us to the question, how can healthcare providers ensure inclusive care? They can start out by utilizing a guide to medical revenue cycle management, ensuring all departments are adequately staffed, and providing basic training for all employees. After the foundations are established, staff will have the opportunity to provide the best, most inclusive care possible.

Diverse Patient Types That Need To Be Catered To

Medical ethics is something every medical professional has to follow. It states that patients shouldn’t be turned away from medical practices due to their race, disability, or sexual orientation. However, healthcare facilities must do more than just not turn patients away for the best patient outcomes. Instead, efforts should be made to offer inclusive care for patients.

According to a study, the average waiting time for African Americans needing kidney transplants is almost twice as long as that of white patients.

Such studies emphasize the need to accommodate diverse types of patients, including:

Disabled Patients

People with disabilities should be addressed with empathy and taken care of properly without making them feel singled out by their disabilities. It is essential to have specialized accommodation in place for them. For example, forms with oversized prints and audio versions of information should be made available if your patient has vision loss. Similarly, for patients with auditory disabilities, a sign language interpreter should be made available.

Racially Diverse Patients

It is important to remember that people who hail from culturally different backgrounds might not feel the same way you do due to the difference in your beliefs and practices. Therefore, the best way to serve such patients is by being upfront and asking them about any of their beliefs that you should know to offer the best care.

For instance, if your patients have English as a second language or don’t speak English at all, it is vital to address this issue by having an interpreter. Similarly, having information written in languages other than English can also help make the patient’s experience smooth.

LGBTQ Patients

There are two effective ways to care for LGBTQ patients. First, educate yourself on the basic terms and differences between them. This will make it easier for you to understand how your patient defines. Second, consider showing your support to the community by displaying a non-discrimination policy in your organization.

4 Health Inclusion Strategies:

1. Promoting Universal Design

When there are special accommodations made for disabled people or people from other racial backgrounds, it makes them aware of their differences. This is precisely the opposite of what you are trying to achieve with inclusive care.

A possible solution is to opt for products, equipment, design, and communication materials that simplify life for everyone. For example, handicapped passageways, assistive technologies, instruction manuals with clear illustrations, palm rests, etc., can be used by everyone regardless of whether they are disabled or not.

2. Staff Training on Providing Culturally Competent Service for Diverse Patients

Alongside all the other measures you take to offer inclusive care, you should also train your staff to deliver culturally competent services. For instance, teach them how to address various disabilities or serve people from different cultural backgrounds. Employees are the backbone of every healthcare organization. So, your efforts in offering inclusive care are only as reasonable as your employee’s knowledge.

3. Providing Inclusive Educational Materials and Messages in the Clinic Setting

Alongside improving inclusiveness in your organization, it is also vital that you educate people about the importance of being more accepting of all people. This can be achieved by displaying educational materials and messages in the healthcare setting.

4. Inclusion of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Non-Discrimination Policies

While there are several ways to achieve this, an efficient strategy, to begin with, is by including the ability to identify as LGBTQ in health forms and EHR systems. Consider using inclusive language in registration forms. For example, ask for relationship status instead of marital status. Also, consider asking for a preferred name rather than a first name and surname. This is because transgender patients have a given name that doesn’t match their gender identity. So, they often go with another name they prefer to be called.

Embrace Inclusiveness in Your Healthcare Facility

Inclusive care isn’t an isolated aspect of medical care. It is vital for improving the bottom line and offering excellent healthcare experiences. Fortunately, with these four strategies, you can up your inclusive care game and be more accommodating towards people of all races, sexual orientations, and more.