A health carrier has published a guide that can help doctors and others understand the effects of religious and cultural beliefs on patients’ health care decisions.

EmblemHealth Inc., New York, recruited scholars at the Tanenbaum Center For Interreligious Understanding, New York, to develop the new 230-page Medical Manual for Religio-Cultural Competency.

The guide covers health-related traditions associated with Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Shinto, traditional Chinese culture, American Indian and Alaska Native cultures, and Afro-Caribbean cultures.

One survey found that religious beliefs affect the health care decisions of 41% of the participants, EmblemHealth reports.

EmblemHealth will be giving away free downloads of the guide to its own providers and some other providers in the New York area.

Later, the Tanenbaum Center will be selling the guide to other providers and health care organizations.