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Communication Climate Assessment Toolkit (C-CAT) Framework

The C-CAT uses a series of coordinated measures in nine domains of communication. These nine domains were identified by an expert advisory panel and refined through the Ethical Force Program’s consensus model. This framework will help organizations evaluate their communication policies and practices to ensure effective, patient-centered communication with people from diverse populations.

The nine domains of communication that the C-CAT evaluates are:

1. Leadership Commitment

An organization should routinely examine its commitment, capacity and efforts to meet the communication needs of the populations it serves, including leadership involvement; mission, goals, and strategies; policies and programs; budget allocations; and workforce values

2. Information Collection

An organization should use standardized qualitative and quantitative collection methods and uniform coding systems to gather valid and reliable information for understanding the demographics and communication needs of the populations it serves.

3. Community Engagement

An organization should make demonstrable, proactive efforts to understand and reach out to the communities it serves, including establishing relationships with community groups and developing opportunities for community members to participate in shaping organizational policies.

4. Workforce Development

An organization should ensure that the structure and capability of its workforce meets the communication needs of the populations it serves, including by employing and training a workforce that reflects and appreciates the diversity of these populations.

5. Individual Engagement

An organization should help its workforce engage all individuals, including those from vulnerable populations, through quality interpersonal communication that effectively elicits health needs, beliefs and expectations; builds trust; and conveys information that is understandable and empowering.

6. Socio-Cultural Context

An organization should create an environment that is respectful to populations with diverse backgrounds; this includes helping its workforce understand the socio-cultural factors that affect health beliefs and the ability to interact with the health care system.

7. Language Services

An organization should determine what language assistance is required to communicate effectively with the populations it serves, make this assistance easily available and train its workforce to access and use language assistance resources.

8. Health Literacy

An organization should consider the health literacy level of its current and potential populations and use this information to develop a strategy for the clear communication of medical information verbally, in writing and using other media.

9. Performance Evaluation

An organization should regularly monitor its performance with regard to each of the prior content areas using structure, process, and outcome measures, and make appropriate adjustments on the basis of these evaluations.

For more information, please contact CCAT@ama-assn.org.