Training tomorrow’s doctors needs focus on social and cultural issues. When treating patients, doctors must adopt a culturally competent approach to bring up information that can be perceived as negative by patients. Keeping cultural differences in mind can help doctors better treat their patients. Some strategies include patient assessment, patient preparation, and communication in a kind, caring, respectful and positive manner. To achieve optimal medical care, it is important to find ways to bridge cultural differences between patients and doctors. Finding local solutions to problems, demonstrating cooperation, compassion, thoughtfulness, friendliness, and peacefulness is an ideal way to provide treatment for patients. 

Diversity in Healthcare

India is a highly diverse nation and management of cultural differences must be incorporated in the medical curriculum for doctors. Cultural variations in patients can pose real challenges to health care providers and systems to deliver culturally competent medical care. Cultural competence training and robust policies, procedures can allow health professionals to overcome these challenges. Both providers and healthcare systems must work in tandem to deliver culturally competent care and ensure that patients don’t have to deal with untoward health consequences, receive poor quality care or be completely dissatisfied with the care they receive. Efforts must be made by healthcare providers to increase the quality of patient-health professional interactions. Cultural and spiritual sensitivity and accommodation of cultural, religious, and spiritual values is an essential part of patient rights and is the right of every Indian citizen. 

Socio-cultural Impact on Patient Receiving Treatment

Training Tomorrow’s Doctors in ways that will help them adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing healthcare environment. Treating patients doesn’t only involve the application of theoretical knowledge, but also the knowledge of socio-cultural differences, social strata and the various factors that influence communication and behaviour. Providing consistent and quality care to every patient regardless of their cultural, ethnic, racial, or religious background is something that all medical students must be trained to do. Medical professionals must be trained to encourage families of patients to participate in the decision-making process in healthcare, incorporate culture-specific values into health promotion, have cultural awareness, allow traditional healers, provide interpreter services and recruit minority staff.

What Must Be Included In MCI Curriculum to Promote Diversity?

Things that can be included in the MCI (Medical Council of India) curriculum includes modules on how cultural factors can influence patients’ responses to medical issues like healing and suffering and the physician-patient relationship. According to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), doctors must adopt sensitivity to cultural diversity while treating patients. Principle 5 of the cultural proficiency guidelines state that: “Care at the end of life should recognize, assess, and address the psychological, social, spiritual/religious issues, and cultural taboos realizing that different cultures may require significantly different approaches.” Some other key guidelines promote the development of rapport with ethnically diverse patients, a detailed understanding of important cultural issues, skillful use of patient-centered questions and use of interpreters. These guidelines can be adapted to the Indian context or a set of guidelines for doctors can be developed by a team of experts on cultural proficiency while dealing with Indian patients. 

As healthcare professionals strive to improve health care delivery for their patients, they should also explore policies and practices that enhance treatment for people from different communities. Improved cultural competency enhances patient satisfaction and compliance.