An improvement in employee diversity can have a significant impact on any type of company. They encourage people of different backgrounds to do business with them and obtain insight into different demographic segments and markets. A broader base of experience helps with innovation because there is a greater chance for dissimilar ideas to come together and fuel creativity. In addition, corporations with boards that display gender and racial diversity tend to correlate to higher financial performance than businesses whose directors are largely white and male.
Every one of these points is true in healthcare, as well. But a more important one is treatment outcomes and long-term patient health. Overall health varies greatly by race, as one study after another has shown. The term frequently used is health and healthcare disparities, as the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation notes. A growing body of research has shown that racial bias leads toward worse medical care for minorities, as U.S. News & World Report has explained.
According to experts, one way of improving minority health could be to introduce diverse practice environments in which patients could see professionals who look like them and might share similar backgrounds, according to U.S. News & World Report.
A good part is the need to trust a system that may be associated with one seen as oppressive, according to Dr. Douglas Garland Jr., a board member for the Association of Black Health Professionals, as quoted by U.S. News:
[Concerns] about discrimination and mistrust of the health system exist, causing some people to avoid it altogether outside of dire emergencies. “There are Americans who are unwilling to engage in the health care system,” Garland says. “We believe that workforce diversity is one of the many tools that can help them re-engage, particularly the frequency they engage with the health care system at the appropriate time – preventively as opposed to waiting until the last minute.”
The issue isn’t only care professionals, although they are critical, but also administrators and other staff. Wide representation of a patient’s racial identity at all levels of the organization “helps promote trust and confidence in the system,” according to Garland.
Cultural familiarity can help lead care givers to recognize background and patterns that might affect disease, symptoms, or even how people talk about them.
In addition, studies heavily influence the practice of medicine. Too many studies are small and have a narrow range of demographics. Treatments schedules and medicines may not work uniformly among all groups for a variety of reasons. People in practice and leadership of healthcare organizations can help to encourage minorities to join studies.
The more diverse the organization, the more organizations can avoid problems and provide a better dimension of care to all patients.
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