Cultural Competency: The Gap in Understanding of Indian Patients and How it Affects Quality Healthcare

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This thesis will explore the gap in sociocultural understanding between Indian patients and American physicians, and primarily, how cultures play an important role within shared decision-making. The objective of this research is to make physicians more aware of their biases when it comes to patients of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and ensure that they take all factors surrounding patients’ perspectives into account during shared decision-making. A pilot study was conducted by sending an anonymous survey to potential participants in Macomb and Oakland counties. The survey included questions asking Indian and non-Indian physicians about their cultural training, to rate their experiences with patients of different cultures, and short answer hypothetical case studies that allowed conclusions to be drawn of the treatment of Indian patients. Two-sample t-tests and Mann Whitney U tests were used to conduct statistical analyses of the collected data. It was found that those who were less prepared by their medical training showed higher comfort levels treating patients of different cultural backgrounds as themselves, which may indicate that those who were not trained in the importance of acknowledging unconscious biases may not take these factors into account when treating patients of different backgrounds. This may also be indicative of the necessity of medical training in foundational medical programs, as well as continuing education modules. It was concluded that cultural competency is an integrative component of healthcare, and its importance must be stressed on all levels of a healthcare system.



Misdiagnosis, Cultural competence, Health care, Shared decision-making, Indian patients, Medical schools, Foundational medical curriculum, Continuing education