Hartford, Conn. — Aetna offers free online cross-cultural communications training at www.aetna.com/provider for physicians, nurses and health care professionals who care for Aetna members. Aetna, convinced of the potential of cross-cultural education to improve health care outcomes, is providing Quality Interactions: a Patient-Based Approach to Cross-Cultural Care developed by the Manhattan Cross Cultural Group, free of charge. To qualify, health care professionals must participate in Aetna’s network of providers, or have filed a claim for services with Aetna. Quality Interactions is a series of interactive online courses that teach health care professionals how to identify cross-cultural issues, conduct a culturally competent patient history and medical exam, work effectively with interpreter services, increase patient understanding of diagnosis and treatment options, and elicit greater patient cooperation and compliance with the prescribed treatment plan.

“Cultural competency goes beyond an appreciation for language differences and varying comfort levels in dealing with physicians,” says Troyen Brennan, M.D., Aetna’s chief medical officer. “We all have cultural influences that impact how we communicate with and understand each other. Patients vary with respect to their beliefs in preventive care, levels of assertiveness, individual or group orientation toward decision-making, even the value of being on time. Physicians report these courses opened their eyes to how unrecognized preconceptions may influence their medical decision-making and impact their ability to communicate effectively with patients.”

“The aim of a cultural competency program is not to stereotype patients or prescribe a set of medical treatments for a particular race or ethnicity,” says Joseph Betancourt, M.D., director of The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-developer of Quality Interactions. “Rather, it is to influence health care providers to ask questions, reveal the beliefs and comprehension levels of a patient, and negotiate with the patient based on that new understanding to improve the medical outcome.”

These Quality Interactions activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit1 and meet the requirements for cultural competency training set forth by the board of Medical Examiners in the state of New Jersey, according to the insurer.

Source: Business Wire

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