A new study revealed that poor communication with Hispanic patients is adversely affecting the quality of care to this country’s largest minority group.
The Jeffrey Group, the largest independent communications agency targeting Latin audiences, and KCI Partners, a strategic market research and consulting firm, announced the results of this study measuring the knowledge and perceptions of minority patients relating to healthcare issues. The main focus of the study, which surveyed 422 physicians across the country, was to uncover barriers in receiving adequate treatment and measure the effectiveness of communication vehicles in educating Hispanic patients about their health.
One of the most important findings of the study was related to obstacles physicians encountered in effectively treating Hispanic patients. Twenty-four percent of physicians cited poor patient understanding of disease severity was “almost always a barrier” to treatment and 21% cited it as “frequently a barrier.” Other factors cited by physicians as almost always being a barrier to treatment were preconceived notions/myths (23% of physicians) and conflicting advice about treatment from family members (21% of physicians).
Despite these barriers, nearly 50% of respondents cited that community organizations, physicians, physician assistants and nurses are among those doing the most effective job at communicating about healthcare issues with Hispanic patients. On the other hand, most physicians think that pharmaceutical companies do a poor job of communicating, lacking a thorough understanding of multicultural patient needs. In fact, only 12% reported that pharmaceutical companies understand the healthcare needs of Hispanic patients very well. Even fewer physicians (7%) indicated that pharmaceutical companies are doing an adequate job in communicating with Hispanics about solutions to their healthcare needs.
The second part of the study addressed the most effective educational vehicles for informing Hispanic or minority patients. Most physicians agree that one-on-one time with staff and printed educational materials in Spanish are the most important and effective ways to communicate with these patients. Furthermore, physicians agree that media plays a key role in informing patients. Seventy-one percent of physicians cited that, outside of their offices, television stories are very or extremely effective communication vehicle to help educate these patients.