The US Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, racial and minority groups may account for almost half of the US population. What we are hearing from the front lines of healthcare, is that despite their efforts to reach their diverse patient bases, healthcare extenders already are finding gaps in delivering quality care and effective communication. A recent report from HealthEd Academy, SurroundHealth’s parent company, addressed the challenges that health providers are facing in reaching their multicultural patient audiences.
What challenges are they are expressing?
The report details a survey of almost 200 healthcare extenders—non-MD healthcare professionals who directly with and on behalf of patients including registered nurses, certified diabetes educators, social workers, and dietitians (many from SurroundHealth). Some highlights:
- Language barriers and patient comprehension top healthcare extenders’ list of concerns
- 48% of respondents said they often or sometimes experience a situation in which language differences prevent effective communication between them and their patients/caregivers
- 44% of respondents are often or sometimes uncertain how to best educate a patient/and or family member because of cultural differences
Although Spanish and English were the top reported languages, it was evident through the responses that the patient bases of healthcare extenders are becoming extremely diverse. Respondents said they see patients that speak an array of languages, including Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese. A surprising finding was that, when asked for the top 4 languages their patients speak, 4 in 10 selected “Other”. This selection came even though respondents were able to choose from the top 10 most-spoken languages in the US, according to recent Census data.
Despite 42% of respondents translating patient education materials to other languages, almost half of them reported that they do not have access to patient education materials they need. These types of materials are extremely important in providing quality care to a diverse range of patients—a range that will only continue to grow over the next few years.
Want to learn more?
A free excerpt along with the full report can be downloaded at: http://www.healthedacademy.com (need to link track)
See what others are saying about the report:
Stay tuned for more information on a SurroundHealth webinar in March that will discuss the findings of the report, Engaging Patients From Multicultural Backgrounds. Also, don’t forget to check out SurroundHealth’s archive of free webinars!