Cultural competence translates into better patient care and less legal risk

March 1, 2006

Culture competence is "the ability to appreciate the cultures and customs of people from around the world that affect the way they interact with others," wrote Debra Udey, vice president of risk management, at OMS National Insurance Co., in Medical Liability Monitor (12/2005). Understanding these cultural differences can help you avoid interferences in medical treatment and reduce your legal risk, she added.

Culture competence is "the ability to appreciate the cultures and customs of people from around the world that affect the way they interact with others," wrote Debra Udey, vice president of risk management, at OMS National Insurance Co., in Medical Liability Monitor (12/2005). Understanding these cultural differences can help you avoid interferences in medical treatment and reduce your legal risk, she added.

Depending on a patient's culture, the usual risk management precepts may not apply. The following are broad generalizations of some cultural differences you may encounter: