185236 Strategies to Overcome Physician-Latino Patient Communication Barriers: Diverse Perspectives

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:30 PM

Jose O. Arrom, MA , Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Aida L. Giachello, PhD , Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Objective: To develop strategies to overcome language and cultural communication barriers from the perspectives of physicians and patients. Background: With the rapid growth of the Latino population, the American Medical Association developed a Hispanic Health Initiative to assess the magnitude of the problem and to identify strategies to address communication barriers; in 2006 AMA convened a Hispanic/Latino Health Summit of national leaders and experts. Methods: Three focus groups were conducted for the AMA in Chicago, recorded and transcribed with Spanish-speaking Mexican immigrant patients, primarily with diabetes (n=6), experienced Latino physicians (n=6), and culturally diverse non-Latino primary care physicians (n=10). The findings were compared to those generated by the Summit. Our budget limited the number of participants/groups and the representativeness of their perspectives. Results: Focus group and AMA Summit recommendations were similar but the groups allowed more case and systemic analysis. Rapid access to information from physicians, triage, and appointments were a concern for patients. The experienced Latino physicians reported they handled this issue through early intensive patient education. Patient reported satisfaction with services was related to clinic's cultural climate, which is often managed by front-desk staff, on a cold-warmth (calor) dimension. The patient group recommended customer service training for staff. Non-Latino physicians reported cultural training programs tend to ignore intra-group differences among Latinos. We will be summarizing strategies at the physician, patient, and health systems level. Conclusions: Future studies and strategy development should match patients and physicians in different practice settings (solo, group, public) and without or with different health plans.

Learning Objectives:
Identify communication barriers and issues at the clinician, patient, and systems levels. Demonstrate strategies to overcome barriers at different levels and practice settings. Promote the use of qualitative methods to identify and address these issues

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary researcher. This project is funded by a fellowship from the Chicago Community Trust (a community foundation).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.