How increased diversity will change the business of healthcare

Major social and cultural demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the business side of healthcare, according to a column published in Forbes.

The changes are driven by two major population shifts in the industry. First, the percentage of minority groups with insurance coverage is rapidly increasing due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, writes Glenn Llopis, a business strategist. Second, the ratio of culturally competent providers is falling, and experts increasingly call for medical education to cover the subject.

As healthcare transitions to a patient-centered model, providers have the opportunity to "chang[e] the business of healthcare to a relationship-based profession where we grow together with our patients from beginning to end of life," Joseph Alvarnas, M.D., director of medical quality at City of Hope National Medical Center, told Lippis."That's the idealized version of medicine."

Patients want access to culturally competent providers who can speak to them on their level and from an understanding of their values, Alvarnas said, but reconciling that with increased consolidation and systematization is complex and sometimes contradictory.

Recruitment takes cultural competency as well, according to the column. For instance, Hispanic employees tend to be family-oriented, said Angela Patterson, vice president and chief nursing officer at CVS Health, so the recruitment process must factor in corporate policies regarding paid leave and extended families.

Providers must also transition from a doctor-patient relationship based on authority to one in which doctors actively listen to patient needs and base their advice on what they learn, according to Beatriz Rojas, senior director of multicultural marketing at Kaiser Permanente.

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