New Year, New Latino Patient Experience

Insights for Healthcare Providers looking to improve the health and wellness of the Hispanic community.

Health and wellness have become a popular topic as many are practicing their “New Year, New me” resolutions. What will the new health trends be for 2017? The health disparities among Latinos is an ongoing trend that proves healthcare providers should make a resolution to advance their communication efforts towards their Latino patients and the Hispanic community.

In 2011, I participated in a focus group that gave insights about health and wellness in relation to the Latino communities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What was realized from those insights is that many Latinos in West Michigan underutilized health care. Today, healthcare providers face the same challenge to improve the Latino patient experience and connect the Hispanic community with the value of ideas like preventative measures and health education.


Healthcare Providers: How well do you know your Latino patients?

Medical practitioners who serve diverse communities and wish to improve the overall patient care experience should consider the ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences of their patients. Factors which create barriers of communication could mean all the difference for the health and well-being of Latinos.

A recent report provided by the Anesthesiology 2016 Annual Meeting suggests that Latinos experience more preoperative anxiety due to language barriers and cultural differences.

According to the senior author of the study, Zeev Kain, M.D., Latino patients lack the understanding of surgical procedures, the role of the physician anesthesiologist, and the possibilities of complications. This gap in knowledge is likely the cause of their increased anxiety which may interfere with or even prolong the patient healing process. As a result, many Latinos face a greater risk of visiting the emergency room during recovery.

Out of the 243 patients who participated in the study, the 64 Spanish-speaking participants showed significantly higher anxiety levels than their English-speaking counterparts. This research demonstrates the importance of offering bilingual surveys to fully observe this phenomenon.

The survey also revealed that Latino patients wish to have more detailed information about surgical procedures but are often reluctant to question their surgeon or physician anesthesiologists due to cultural reasons. Further investigation of the Latino patient experience is needed to understand the impact that language and culture have on preoperative care.

By providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, healthcare providers can improve the overall Latino patient experience. Have a process in place that addresses each aspect of the patient encounter. Without effective research, healthcare providers may not be offering valuable and comprehensive touch points throughout each medical procedure.


What can healthcare providers do to bridge the gap of knowledge for their Latino patients?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized the need to address and reduce health disparities so that each community has the opportunity to maximize their health equity. As a national effort to break down the barriers to good health, the CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program offers funding for organizations who wish to eliminate the disparities in their community.

For Latino community, there are number of factors that can to lead to health disparities such as language and cultural differences, health literacy and socioeconomic gaps. These factors may also influence how the message of a marketing campaign is interpreted.  

Here at Vías, with support by a grant from the aforementioned REACH program, we helped the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) of Michigan in their efforts to seek out culturally intelligent marketing strategies to promote their Healthy Living campaign. We found a differentiated approach was best.

While a “one size fits all” approach may be seem to be a feasible marketing strategy, it is more likely to create a weak narrative that does not resonate with the Latino community. Through the process of transcreation, we helped the KCHD to avoid the drawbacks of relying on a single marketing message that is simply translated into Spanish.


What’s next for Latino healthcare communications? Saludmóvil may have the answer.

Last year saludmóvil launched as the first bilingual, mobile centric website to offer original health and medical information in both English and Spanish. By understanding the health concerns specific to the Hispanic demographic, this new effort will fill in the gaps where the healthcare system is lacking to provide information.

With the trends of technology, saludmóvi recognized the benefits of a multi platform mobile service. In partnership with top medical experts and journalists, Latinos on the go can now access reliable information on all areas of health and medicine when and where they need it.


We want to hear from you! What goals will you set for a healthy 2017?

Health and wellness, and how healthcare is marketed to an increasingly diverse populace, is sure to continue to evolve. As we at Vias also continue to evolve in how we deliver effective marketing solutions, we are curious to hear from you and learn about your goals as well as the challenges and successes you have had in your marketing efforts. Contact us today.

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