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Diversity & Inclusion

The increasing diversity of the U.S. population is now affecting hospital performance.

Data demonstrates a troubling mismatch between hospital staff and the patients they care for that cuts across a myriad of factors such as ethnicity, primary language, and sexual orientation. Further, with several studies reporting that minorities receive poorer-quality health care, “culturally competent care” has become a common rallying cry. Together, JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)  and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) already have 35 standards related to the care of diverse patients. As non-whites approach 50 percent of the population by 2050, the strength of this cry for change is only likely to grow.

From the Human Resource perspective, caring for an increasingly diverse patient population group will require novel recruitment and retention strategies. Minority staff is uniquely well positioned to care for patients from similar ethnic backgrounds to their own. Moreover, minority workers are one of the few segments of the labor force expected to grow across the coming decade. Health care, however, has a poor track record when it comes to attracting minority workers. Furthermore, success in drawing multiple minority groups to the hospital workplace can trigger a second set of challenges, such as cultural misunderstandings and staff conflict. In short, given ongoing demographic changes, almost all HR leaders in health care – whether immediately, or in the not–so-distant future – need to develop a strategy for more effectively managing diversity in their organizations.

HR Investment Center, Executive Briefing – Enhancing Hospital Diversity.
Copyright 2006 The Advisory Board Company, Washington, D.C.