Are healthcare providers prepared to treat the Latino population adequately?
The Latino population is growing steadily in the U.S., are healthcare providers prepared to adequately treat the Latino population? The answer seems to be: No.
As a marketer and a strategist in the Healthcare industry, the first mistake I see in the market is, the perception that having bilingual personnel in a healthcare facility, makes the institution prepared to treat the Latino population. Language barriers are real, a high percentage of the Hispanic community in the U.S. are in need of translation, especially when in medical care. These barriers are also accompanied by potential risks to medical record’s accuracy, as well as provider’s quality scores. Making language barriers smaller is indeed, a need, but not a solution.
According to the Census Bureau, Latinos accounted for 18% of the population in the U.S. in 2017. Census data projections show 24.6% of the population will be Latino by 2045. The Latino population, present unique healthcare needs and medical challenges, if ignored, present a big problem for overall population growth and life expectancy in the country. Latinos have a lower death rate (24%), when compared to whites, but about 50% have a higher death rate from diabetes. Less heart disease (35%) than whites, and 49% less cancer, but 23% more obesity. This leads to the second biggest mistake I see in this industry, we’re missing the numbers. Only a few healthcare providers have invested in services targeted for Latinos beyond language services. If there’s no proactive care, negative trends in overall healthcare increases. If healthcare systems lack custom programs to address unique healthcare challenges, these expand, and will potentially affect 28+% of the population by 2045.
Dr. Gloria Sanchez, associate clinical professor of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, identifies culture, socio-economics, and social determinants of health, as factors that should play a role into “how the healthcare systems adapts to the healthcare population they are trying to serve“.
These key influencers are being overlooked, and hold important impacts on the quality of healthcare provided to a strongly growing population that accounts, today, for 18.1% of the U.S. population, and accounted for half of the population’s growth since 2000.