The 6 things Hispanics want from health care

Hispanics make up a growing portion of the United States’ population, but when it comes to health care this group experiences a number of disparities.…

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The 6 things Hispanics want from health care

Caroline Ramirez, left, and Sam Martinez, right, use computers at a public library to access the Affordable Health Care Act website, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Hispanics make up a growing portion of the United States’ population, but when it comes to health care this group experiences a number of disparities. One of those disparities is attendance to medical checkups and routine screenings, but a new study may have finally pinpointed the 6 keys to attracting Hispanics to the clinical setting.

SEE ALSO: Enrollment of Obamacare exceeds expectations but not for Latinos

According to research provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Hispanics often view health care in a different light compared to other races/ethnicities.

And with Hispanics making up approximately 17 percent of the country’s population, the study points could be critical to helping Hispanics receive more timely care and better health options.

What the study revealed

The data from more than 500 Hispanics surveyed indicated that:

  • Hispanics look more at cost rather than quality and convenience. More than 40 percent of study participants had delayed care within the past year due to cost and were more likely to use community clinics and non-traditional providers like pharmacists.
  • Hispanics are much more likely to plan medical care using a mobile device. Approximately one-fifth already use an app to schedule appointments online, and 31 percent stated they would be willing to do so. Hispanics are also the most likely ethnicitiy to use the Internet to research medical options including those related to insurance.
  • Hispanics are less likely than others to share personal information in a medical setting, even if it is advantageous to their situation. “Hispanic focus group participants described generations of mistrust of formal institutions such as the government and insurance companies,” according to the PwC study. “Trust is key, but the corporate world and government have failed to earn it. So has the health industry.” Study experts indicate Hispanics may be more willing to share personal information if there were more Hispanic medical professionals available.
  • Despite the outreach efforts of the government, Hispanics in the research appear largely unaware of the impact of the Affordable Care Act and what it has provided to them for options. Only one-third of those surveyed had visited their state’s health care exchange, and less than half understood the available options.
  • More targeted marketing is need for Hispanic subgroups. Just as research is finding that Hispanics cannot be lumped into one group when it comes to health conditions, they also cannot be lumped into one group when it comes to health care education. The PwC research concluded that Hispanics would be better served if outreach programs were tailored  to each subgroup such as Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and so on.

Moving forward with health care in the United States, policy makers must take into account the specific needs of specific communities. Hispanics are often a group of focus because they make up a significant amount of the population, but they are not unique in their need for customized programs.

African Americans, Asian Americans and non-Hispanic whites all need to be communicated with in the most effective way possible.

SEE ALSO: Obamacare and employer-based health coverage: What you need to know

The PwC authors indicate that there is absolutely no “one-size-fits-all” level of health care.