The Impacts of Ethnic/Racial Discrimination on Healthcare QualityIjeoma Simon-EbughuBelhaven University The Impacts of Ethnic/Racial Discrimination on Healthcare QualityThe United States’ healthcare sector endeavors to improve the quality of care across all communities. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) targets measurable advances in the quality of health care as well as the health status of residents (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016). The government focuses on addressing behavioral, social, and environmental factors that affect the health of people. Despite the regular implementation of quality improvement strategies including technological advancements, patient outcomes remain poor across hospitals due to cross-cultural challenges. Ethnic/racial discrimination is among the major cross-cultural challenges that limit the quality of health care. The issue of discrimination is common in most organizations. For instance, some of the White patients do not accept services from colored healthcare professionals. Additionally, some health care providers fail to assist patients from minority groups due to prejudice and racial bias (Hall et al., 2015). Such bias not only results in patients’ complications as they wait for the preferred providers but also demoralizes the minority professionals from pursuing improvements in their output. Healthcare leaders can address cross-cultural barriers by nurturing cultural competency skills as well as respecting the diversity of patients and professionals. Problem IdentificationSocial discrimination remains a significant obstacle in the improvement of healthcare quality. The practice entails differentiating healthcare services based on a patient’s ethnic or racial background. Healthcare providers who practice discrimination base their attitudes on patients’ physical appearance, background information or other perceived traits (Hall et al., 2015). Healthcare professionals also face discrimination from patients. In a study that is conducted in a culturally-diverse clinical environment, nurses from minority groups indicated that some patients reject their services. Further investigations showed that people hold stereotypes of the inability of colored professionals to provide high-quality services (Hall et al., 2015). Such experiences have adverse impacts on the quality of health care. The practitioners feel demoralized and hesitate from offering the best quality care to patients. Most of the practitioners who experience racial-ethnic discrimination also develop health problems that affect their productivity levels. For instance, such professionals may experience emotional distress when patients or colleagues treat them as inferiors. Eventually, the discriminated staff portray minimal levels of engagement in quality improvement programs. Racial/ethnic discrimination towards patients and nurses limits collaborative efforts in the development of patient-centered treatment programs. Research among patients in a primary care setting indicated that ethnic discrimination has direct contributions to poor patient-provider relationships (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016). Most of the patients stated that they would not want to spend much time with discriminative health care providers. The findings imply that patients can hardly receive personalized care and education concerning healthy living from discriminative practitioners. Thus, the quality of outcomes of such patients remains minimal since they lack guidance on how to adhere to medical prescriptions and avoid risk factors that are likely to cause complications. Discrimination also threatens the trust among practitioners and patients. Consequently, individuals cannot operate efficiently in diverse teams to promote high-quality health care delivery practices. Thus, healthcare leaders should examine the issues of ethnic/racial discrimination and develop comprehensive strategies for eliminating them. Background InformationHealth care quality greatly depends on patient-practitioner relations. The two parties have to interact positively during treatment and follow-up processes to optimize the outcomes. However, the objectives remain a major challenge for most healthcare organizations in the United States. While some patients lack access to high-quality services due to perceived discrimination from practitioners, some healthcare professionals fail to achieve the desired qualities of outcomes due to discriminative patients or families (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016). High-standard care involves not only using appropriate medical procedures to offer medication but also integrating the emotional and psychological welfare of the patient in the process. The caregiver has to adopt treatment practices that improve all three aspects of health. Ethnic discrimination has negative impacts on the victims’ dignity (Hall et al., 2015). In most cases, people who experience discrimination based on their origin or traits tend to suffer from a declining sense of self-worth and belonging. Consequently, healthcare outcomes decline significantly. Respect for diversity is a crucial requirement for healthcare organizations that focus on improving the quality of health care. Both medical professionals and patients should accommodate people’s varied beliefs to facilitate collaborative efforts in generating the best quality of treatment outcomes. A study among minority patients in an outpatient facility indicated various aspects of discrimination they experience in health care delivery settings (Hall et al., 2015). For instance, the patients stated that some providers associate color and certain forms of dressing with minorities. As such, some nurses and physicians may avoid approaching such patients after noting their appearances. Some of the patients also talked of accent as a critical indicator of ethnic traits. The patients explained that they faced harsh treatment from providers who indicated that they could not understand their language. While some patients bear with the unfavorable conditions, others choose to discontinue their treatment because of discrimination. As a result, patients experience adverse outcomes and complications. Nurses and physicians who face discrimination are likely to avoid patients who are likely to be discriminative (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016). Consequently, White practitioners become overburdened with heavy workloads, and hence they offer poor quality of care due to fatigue. Therefore, discrimination affects not only the minorities but also members of mainstream communities. Therefore, healthcare leaders from all cultural backgrounds should collaborate in eliminating discriminative attitudes to ensure all patients receive the best treatment results. Problem Analysis/Literature ReviewSocial relations are an essential determinant of people’s welfare. Positive interactions improve self-confidence and emotional wellbeing among individuals regardless of their health status. Therefore, it is crucial to nurture good relations in any social environment since the practice promotes health. The social identity theory offers a meaningful explanation of discriminative practices. According to the approach, people tend to develop a self-concept based on their background and traits (Hogg, Abrams, & Brewer, 2017). Such individuals treat people with similar traits as in-groups and those with diverse features as out-groups. Additionally, the in-group’s members tend to categorize themselves as superior and the out-groups as inferiors. The same concept is evident in discriminative healthcare contexts. People from minority societies are the out-groups, while the in-groups comprise the Whites. The in-groups hold certain forms of prejudice and stereotypes against minorities. For instance, some White people believe that healthcare professionals from minority groups do not have adequate qualifications to handle their needs. This discrimination makes the victims feel alienated from the main society and end up developing emotional problems. For instance, professionals who face discrimination are likely to lose self-confidence and portray minimal participation in quality improvement tasks. To some extent, the concept of social comparison relates to racial/ethnic discrimination. Individuals who discriminate against patients or practitioners use comparative attitudes to determine daily interaction practices (Hogg, Abrams, & Brewer, 2017). For example, a patient can decide to obtain health care services only from white nurses after comparing the perceived abilities of colored professionals. Such patients develop a sense of superiority over other communities and conclude that minorities cannot offer effective treatment as their White counterparts. A study among mental health patients indicates that there is a positive association between perceived discrimination and psychological health issues (Hall et al., 2015). The authors found out that most patients experienced delayed recovery or readmissions due to mental health issues due to racial discrimination. Researchers observed in a national study among African Americans that most of them suffered from anxiety and depression due to the experiences of discrimination they encountered in healthcare and other social institutions (Zestcott, Blair, & Stone, 2016). There is also a strong correlation between discrimination and chronic illnesses such as hypertension. Such findings indicate that patients with diseases tend to get worse even after treatment. Thus, quality improvement programs should begin by nurturing respect for diversity and positive patient-practitioner relations. DiscussionHealthcare professionals can only deliver the best quality of care if they can maintain positive relations with all patients regardless of their backgrounds or traits. Racial/ethnic discrimination has negative impacts on the welfare of both the Whites and the minority communities. Based on current investigations, the United States fails to achieve its quality improvement goals due to the lack of an adequate workforce in the healthcare sector. Reportedly, the demand for healthcare services is likely to grow rapidly within the next five years. By 2025, the sector will need around 2.3 million additional workers (Hall et al., 2015). Thus, it is evident that the quality improvement objectives may remain unattainable if the policymakers do not implement better strategies for enhancing patients’ experiences. Racial/ethnic discrimination is a significant threat to health care quality. The practice discourages minority professionals from offering the best services and overburdens the existing White professionals. Eventually, the entire system may drift away from the goals of best experiences and recovery outcomes among patients. The ethnic/racial discrimination issue is a major threat to human dignity. Most victims lose a sense of self-worth and belonging, especially in social settings. In the process, such individuals develop worse health problems that are harmful to their wellbeing. Most of the chronic illnesses require costly medical interventions, which may not be affordable for a large number of minority patients. In the long run, vulnerable communities will experience serious deviations from health promotion goals, resulting in the growth of disparity. Thus, discrimination is a critical concern for professionals and patients. Healthcare leaders should formulate interventions that help both groups to understand the implications of the practice on their quality of life. Proposed SolutionsThis study suggests various interventions for curbing ethnic /racial discrimination and its impacts on the quality of healthcare services. First, healthcare leaders should develop effective training programs for enhancing cultural competency skills among practitioners. The trainers should help professionals to understand their roles in promoting each other’s dignity (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2015). Additionally, the programs need to explore the impacts of discrimination on minorities and mainstream communities. As a result, the professionals will be in a position to perceive discrimination as a harmful practice that will expose all the Americans to severe health problems related to the lack of adequate talents in the future. Secondly, community leaders should collaborate with healthcare professionals in educating residents about the importance of embracing diversity. The community education programs should also outline the negative implications of discriminative attitudes on people’s health. It is crucial to include ethical and religious principles that relate to equality in the professional and community education programs. For instance, the Bible states, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). The scriptures indicate that impartiality is a major commandment from God. As such, those who practice racial segregation violate divine will while affecting the welfare of their colleagues. Thirdly, healthcare leaders should adopt exemplary practices while interacting with professionals or patients from diverse communities (Covey, 1992). The practices will inspire other individuals to respect the dignity of others from different backgrounds. Additionally, healthcare administrators can introduce reward programs to motivate their employees to offer fair treatment to patients from all ethnic groups. The intervention will also inspire patients to treat their caregivers fairly as the entire organization upholds respect for diversity. ConclusionThe improvement of health care quality requires the collaborative efforts of professionals and patients. The two groups need to relate positively to allow continuous information exchange, hence, promoting the formulation of comprehensive treatment interventions. While cultural competency is a vital requirement in clinical professions, patients should also understand their role in motivating practitioners to offer quality services. Administrators should perform extensive investigations concerning the implications of ethnic/racial discrimination on the quality of care. The administrators should also determine how such practices will affect people’s quality of life and religious obligation in the future. In addition to ethical requirements such as the adoption of equality, leaders should integrate biblical teachings into staff training programs. A constant review of healthcare regulations that relate to patient-practitioner relations and appropriate adjustments can promote respect for cultural diversity. Eventually, all organizational members will willingly portray care and compassion towards others without considering cultural traits. Christian WorldviewThe Christian worldview supports equality and fairness in all social environments. According to the perspective, all humans are a part of God’s wonderful creation. The Bible states that God fearfully and wonderfully created all humans. Thus, none of them should feel superior to the other. Additionally, Christians should serve as the stewards of God’s creation. Christians should perceive their colleagues as part of the creation and portray the values of care as well as compassion while interacting with each other (Leviticus 22:9). Healthcare administrators should inspire practitioners and patients to honor God’s will by maintaining positive attitudes towards different communities. Administrators should continuously explain the biblical implications of equality and fairness to the people around them (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, K. (2015). Consequently, the healthcare sector will be able to achieve quality improvement objectives through collaborative practice. Moreover, members of the minority groups will confidently pursue their life goals while maintaining good emotional and physical health statuses. ReferencesCovey, S. (1992). Principle-centered leadership. Los Angeles, CA: Fireside Press.Hall, W. J., Chapman, M. V., Lee, K. M., Merino, Y. M., Thomas, T. W., Payne, B. K., … & Coyne-Beasley, T. (2015). Implicit racial/ethnic bias among health care professionals and its influence on health care outcomes: A systematic review. American Journal of Public Health, 105(12), e60-e76.Hogg, M. A., Abrams, D., & Brewer, M. B. (2017). Social identity: The role of self in group processes and intergroup relations. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 20(5), 570-581.Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2015). Quantum leadership: Building better partnerships for sustainable health. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.ISBN: 9781284050684Zestcott, C. A., Blair, I. V., & Stone, J. (2016). Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: A narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(4), 528-542.