6002 – Improving Health Care Literacy for a Culturally Diverse Workforce
Through education, training, and experience, the worker’s compensation case manager is uniquely positioned to help the injured worker with limited health care literacy to navigate through the complex Worker’s Compensation system.
In 2015, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that we currently have 26.3 million foreign-born persons in the US labor force. Additionally, 44 percent of US high school graduates and 12 personal of college graduates report they have a poor understanding of basic health care literacy. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes with four times higher rates of hospitalization, 2 day longer hospital stays, medication misuse and abuse and finally, ineffective management of chronic conditions.
Many cultures have specific treatments for acute illnesses, but have no concept of asymptomatic chronic diseases. Without a basic understanding of how to manage their condition, medications and medical follow up, the individual may discontinued the prescribed treatment once their symptoms have abated. Remissions of symptoms may be seen as a cure. Cultural barriers to treatment and compliance are not always easy to identify. Gaps in effective communication can disrupt the success of a treatment.
As health care professionals, case managers are challenged with understanding how a worker’s cross cultural differences, education and socioeconomic status may play a role with their perception of injury, illness and the restoration of wellness and productivity.By learning to improve communication techniques through; listening, reflecting, asking open ended questions, summarizing and engaging the “teach back technique”, a case manager can help to ensure a more positive outcome with improved understanding of the medical treatment plan.
1. Define cultural diversity and bring awareness of cross-cultural differences
2. Prepare the learner to recognize signs of poor healthcare literacy and how to ensure informed medical decision making
3. Distinguish how barriers with communication and healthcare literacy may prolong medical recovery and treatment compliance