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Are You Familiar With Hispanic Patients’ Views on Health Care?

In my previous post I spoke of how a great deal of Hispanics’ spending power will be going towards healthcare expenses. Some by choice (wellness), and some not necessarily by choice, as well as the opportunity this presents for doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, others, and especially pharmaceuticals.

Having gone over that, how do you interact with Latinos/Hispanics patients compared to mainstream patients?

Do you think that simply translating your patient information materials is satisfactory?

Think again.

Don’t just translate. Consider cultural differences. Try to educate and communicate correctly while using values that are in-culture and align with their lives, backgrounds and belief systems.

Otherwise, you might not be saying anything.

Here are a few culturally relevant points to consider in regards to Hispanic/Latino patients who are Spanish language dominant:

  • Patients may assume the absence of a health risk unless told otherwise
  • Many times, go to the MD for sick visits only
  • Tend to have low interaction levels with the doctor
  • Do not participate in small talk with the doctor
  • Rely on family and friends (and comadres/compadres) in decision making
  • Tend to rely on home remedies for illnesses
  • Typically, the diet is different. This is something to consider when monitoring certain conditions & medications
  • May have a tendency to know less about disease states than their non-Hispanic White counterparts
  • Can have a perception of illness/disease that varies from the mainstream
  • Culturally, there’s a tendency to be more fatalistic, to see certain diseases as incurable (it’s God’s will), etc.

It’s important to note that these tendencies decrease with increasing socioeconomic factors rather than with cultural factors.

Knowing some of these cultural cues can allow you the opportunity to educate and build trust, rather than simply handing them materials that are translated into Spanish with little more than a stock photo of a smiling Latino doctor or nurse on the cover.

Where does wellness fit into this? How do you utilize a Direct to Patient (DTP) programs to educate these patients on the importance of health screenings (BP, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Cancer, etc.)?

Are your communication channels and materials effectively reaching Hispanic patients?

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