HSS261 Ip4| HSS261 Ethics in Healthcare | Colorado Technical University
The Case of Healthcare Inequities in CLAS Standards
Healthcare organizations are working to reduce disparities between diverse groups in terms of access and care. To meet the diverse needs of patients, and reduce health disparities, it is important to provide culturally and language-appropriate services (CLAS). Office of Minority Health of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed CLAS Standards to improve health outcomes and decrease disparities.
We will use a real-life case to examine how CLAS can reduce healthcare disparities. The case study will be evaluated to determine which standards have been demonstrated and we’ll explore ways that the healthcare provider can improve their services in order to meet the diverse needs of the patient population.
The case study we have selected is “Think Cultural Health Case Study: Using Language Access Services” by the HHS Office of Minority Health (2016b). This video shows a patient, Ms. Rodriguez, who only speaks Spanish. She seeks medical attention for a persistent cold. The patient has asthma and allergy history, but the primary doctor is unavailable, so she visits a new provider, who doesn’t speak Spanish. The provider doesn’t provide an interpreter, so Ms. Rodriguez is unable to communicate her medical history and symptoms. In the end, Ms. Rodriguez is given a misdiagnosis and medication that worsens her symptoms.
This case study illustrates the healthcare inequality that occurs when non-English speakers are denied access to language services. Misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatments can be caused by communication barriers. Immigrants and those with limited English skills are disproportionately affected by language barriers, which can lead to disparities regarding access and quality care.
This case study does not demonstrate several CLAS standards. This healthcare organization doesn’t offer any language services, nor does it provide translations for written material. Additionally, the provider does not assess Ms. Rodriguez’s language needs, which is a requirement under the CLAS standards.
By meeting the CLAS Standards, health equity is improved by providing equal access to high-quality care for all patients regardless of their language and cultural background. Language assistance services will help non-English speaker patients communicate more effectively with their health care providers. Accurate diagnosis and treatment can be achieved. Translated written materials can help non-English speaking patients better understand their diagnosis, treatment plan, and medication, which will improve health literacy, as well as promote self-management.
Improving Healthcare Services
To provide the best care and eliminate health inequities, the healthcare organization in the case study could improve its language access services by offering interpreting services, translation of written materials, and assessing patients’ language needs. The provider may have also used visual aids and demonstrated the use of medical devices to help with communication. The healthcare organization could also offer cultural competence training to providers to improve their understanding of patients’ cultural beliefs and practices.
Prepare yourself for similar scenarios
To be better prepared to handle similar situations in the future, healthcare providers should be trained on the CLAS standards and provided with the necessary tools and resources to meet patients’ language and cultural needs. To ensure that communication is clear, providers should be encouraged ask questions or seek clarification. To identify improvement areas and to ensure compliance with CLAS standards, healthcare organizations should regularly audit and review their language accessibility services.
The conclusion of the article is:
Inequity in healthcare can result in disparities between diverse populations in terms of access to and the quality of their care. CLAS is crucial to culturally and linguistically-appropriate care and health equity. The CLAS standard can be effectively applied by healthcare providers through the analysis of case studies.