Objective: The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to address the gap in existing literature regarding provider perspectives about provision of high-quality, culturally appropriate, patient-centered care to Muslim women in the United States and (2) to explore congruence between provider and patient perceptions regarding barriers to and recommendations for providing such care.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, a written survey was administered to a convenience sample of healthcare providers (n = 80) and Muslim women (n = 27).
Results: There was considerable congruence among patients and providers regarding healthcare needs of Muslim women. A majority (83.3%) of responding providers reported encountering challenges while providing care to Muslim women. A majority (93.8%) of responding patients reported that their healthcare provider did not understand their religious or cultural needs. Providers and patients outlined similar barriers/challenges and recommendations. Key challenges included lack of providers' understanding of patients' religious and cultural beliefs; language-related patient-provider communication barriers; patients' modesty needs; patients' lack of understanding of disease processes and the healthcare system; patients' lack of trust and suspicion about the healthcare system, including providers; and system-related barriers. Key recommendations included provider education about basic religious and cultural beliefs of Muslim patients, provider training regarding facilitation of a collaborative patient-provider relationship, addressing language-related communication barriers, and patient education about disease processes and preventive healthcare.
Conclusions: Both providers and patients identify significant barriers to the provision of culturally appropriate care to Muslim women. Improving care would require a flexible and collaborative care model that respects and accommodates the needs of patients, provides opportunities for training providers and educating patients, and makes necessary adjustments in the healthcare system. The findings of this study can guide future research aimed at ensuring high-quality, culturally appropriate, patient-centered healthcare for Muslim women in the United States and other western countries.