Navigation Links
Health information not communicated well to minority populations, MU researcher finds
Date:10/31/2009

COLUMBIA, Mo. According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 90 million Americans suffer from low health literacy, a mismatch between patients' abilities to understand healthcare information and providers' abilities to communicate complex medical information in an understandable manner. In two recent studies, researchers at the University of Missouri found that two groups those with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities experience significantly lower health literacy than the general population.

"There is already a problem with low health literacy within the general population," said Diane Smith, assistant professor of occupational therapy and occupational science in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions. "When looking at populations with disabilities or limited English proficiency, people need to be more conscious that these particular populations may have more difficulty understanding information, such as treatment options or medication instructions, from their physicians."

In the two studies, researchers found that patients with disabilities or limited English proficiency (LEP) often perceived that their physicians did not listen to them, explain treatment options, treat them with respect, spend enough time with them, or involve them in the treatment decisions. In comparison to the general population, these concerns were much higher among these two groups. Among both groups, a lack of cultural understanding may contribute to poor patient-physician communication, Smith said.

In the LEP population, researchers found, in addition to health literacy issues, those with limited English proficiency had a significantly reduced access to healthcare. Few doctors have multi-lingual backgrounds especially in rural areas and it can be difficult to find a provider who can accommodate LEP patients. As a result, these patients make fewer doctor visits and receive less screenings and preventative care. LEP patients also may delay going to the doctor to avoid dealing with the frustrations of the language problems, Smith said.

The researchers found that communication complications also can be a problem among those with disabilities. Individuals who rely on sign language may need an interpreter to communicate with their doctors; interpreters are not always accessible. Assumptions about the disabled community also may contribute to low health literacy.

"Even within the health environment, there is a tendency to assume that if there is a physical disability there is a cognitive one as well," Smith said.

To try and manage the disparities, researchers suggest improving awareness of the problem among doctors. Organizations like Health Literacy Missouri and the University of Missouri Center for Health Policy host training sessions for physicians and other healthcare providers to help them understand health literacy and strategies to better communicate with their patients.

Communicating with medical students is an important strategy identified in the study. Training students about health literacy issues may improve health literacy in the future. To help those with LEP, Smith encourages the use of telehealth communications a network that uses telecommunications technology to communicate health information and services. Currently, the Missouri Telehealth Interpretation Project provides LEP patients access to interpreters that would otherwise not be available. University of Missouri Health Care provides patients and families spoken and sign-language interpreter services and written translation services for 55 languages.

"Health literacy is being addressed in the healthcare reform debates because it's a safety issue and it's a cost issue," Smith said. "It costs a lot of money when people have to go back to the hospital because they aren't using their medications appropriately."

The researchers used data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to conduct both studies. Further studies may look at other factors contributing to access to health care to help identify appropriate intervention strategies.

"If people don't understand instructions, they're not going to follow them," Smith said. "All the best treatment plans in the world aren't going to help if patients don't understand what they are supposed to do."


'/>"/>

Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Former Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr. Delivers Address on Health Reform
2. NAMI Applauds Initial Review of The Affordable Health Care of America Act and Health Care Reform
3. AARP Commends Legislature For Saving Critical Health Care Program
4. Health of Subzero, 1992 Winner of Melbourne Cup, Threatened After Customs Mix Up
5. National Council on Agings Firman Lauds CLASS Act as Part of House Health Care Bill
6. Antibiotic Resistance Still a Major Public Health Threat
7. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Honors Health and Education Services, Inc. with its Third Health Care Excellence Award at Annual Quality Forum
8. National Alliance for Hispanic Health Applauds Confirmation of Dr. Regina Benjamin as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States
9. Illinois Takes Decisive Step Towards Health Insurance Reform
10. Therap Services to Host Conference on Electronic Documentation, Electronic Signatures and Electronic Health Records for the Developmental Disabilities Community
11. Undocumented Hispanics Face Health Care Roadblocks in U.S.
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Health information not communicated well to minority populations, MU researcher finds
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First ... United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell ... facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, ... at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his ... it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA ... the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer ... ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and ... women in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., ... developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was ... Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief ... shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal ... million in funding.  The Series-A funding is led ... the Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, ... less-invasive neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Dialysis Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report ... is the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, ... and excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the ... sodium, potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: