The Globalized Patient: conference presentation in Taiwan

  • Posted In: Director's Notes
  • I'm at the International Health Promoting Hospitals conference in Taipei, Taiwan this week and for the first time, immigrant and minority health was on the agenda for a plenary session. I was very pleased to give the presentation "The Globalized Patient: Adapting Health Systems for Mobile, Migrant and Minority Populations." 

    The field of cross cultural or multicultural health gets talked about in different ways around the world. In the United States, the movement began with a focus on our four Federally designated minority groups, and then added the concerns of immigrants and refugees. The UK has Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups, but the European continent talks more about 'migrants' (which we call immigrants, rather than just migrant farm workers). I'm just beginning to learn about multicultural health in Asia. In Taiwan, there are migrant blue-collar labourers brought in to work in factories and construction; domestic workers; and foreign brides (about 10 percent of Taiwanese marriages are to brides brought in from Mainland China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries).

    My presentation focused on examples of practice and policy on multicultural health from around the world, and how this fits into the universal goals of improving quality of care and health outcomes.

    You can find the presentation slides and resource list here.

    Presentation Abstract

    "The Globalized Patient: Adapting Health Systems for Mobile, Migrant and Minority Populatons." 

    Societies across the globe are becoming increasingly multi-lingual and multi-ethnic. This diversity presents a number of opportunities and challenges for health care systems, especially hospitals.  By addressing the unique needs of migrants, minorities and other mobile or disadvantaged populations, health care institutions can make improvements on the key goals of most health care systems: improving quality and efficiency, reducing errors and ensuring patient safety, achieving good outcomes, and fostering good patient and community relations.

    This presentation will explore trends in adapting health services for diverse populations around the world. From North America to Europe to the Asia-Pacific region, great innovation is occurring in both practice and policy. Increasingly, government agencies and international organizations are taking an interest in promoting adaptations that will improve access to services and quality of care. Good practice models include interpretation and translation services, patient-centered care training for health professionals, epidemiologically and culturally targeted population programs (e.g. health promotion, disease prevention, disease support), and the use of patient support staff such as community health workers, patient navigators, and intercultural mediators.  These interventions are promoted and supported by emerging organizational and governmental policies that include practice and quality standards, organizational management frameworks, detailed demographic and epidemiological data utilization, and reimbursement structures. The role of key stakeholders, such as government ministries, accreditation agencies, health professional associations and non governmental organizations, will be addressed as a means of developing strategic alliances to mobilize changes in the health care system.


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