Why do Thoracic Radiologists Need to Know about Cultural Competence (and What Is it Anyway)?

Anita Noble, Dorith Shaham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Thoracic radiologists meet patients when performing procedures such as transthoracic computed tomography-guided biopsy and during shared decision-making required for lung cancer screening. Both patients and thoracic radiologists are influenced by their cultures, which affect their health care interactions. While culture may relate to religion or ethnicity of individuals, it also includes multiple additional characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, education, occupation, age, disability, and more. Patients from different cultures undergo similar medical procedures; however, care must be tailored according to the cultural and linguistic needs of each patient. Cultural competence allows all patients, from the same or different culture as the thoracic radiologist, to receive care that is tailored to the patient's cultural and linguistic needs. Cultural competence includes concepts such as cultural awareness, linguistic competence, and health literacy as well as avoiding bias and stereotyping. Culturally competent care requires appropriate services for interpretation, relating to spoken language, and translation, related to written reports and documents. The implications of not providing adequate interpretation and translation services include the inability to take an accurate health history and patient inability to understand the informed consent forms. Thoracic radiologic services should have culturally competent practices in place at every step of the care, starting from the first phone call when patients are making an appointment. This will allow patients to receive care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate and lead to better satisfaction and outcomes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • cultural competence
  • disability cultural competence
  • health literacy
  • linguistic competence
  • physician-patient communication
  • thoracic radiology


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