In general, the Hispanic population has been known to have poor access to healthcare, be wary of the medical establishment, and seek out information from friends and acquaintances, many of whom don’t have any medical training either. Whether that stems from issues such as: poor communication between the physician and patient, inability to pay, or fear of being asked about citizenship issues are beyond the scope of discussion for now.
In an effort to improve access, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Scientific Review has launched Conoce las Preguntas, a multimedia Spanish-language ad campaign encouraging the population to “Know the Questions” to ask their doctors.
The plan comes as a part of HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities, with components such as reminding the patients to ask questions and be clear on follow-up and medication issues, including dosing instructions. Included in the initiative is the ability to receive SMS messages with sample follow-ups to address with the physician. Within the first month, more than 2,300 people have already used this texting service.
This is not to say that progress has not been made previously. Measures ranging from more medical professionals knowing Spanish to printing information booklets in Spanish have shown the efforts made from the medical establishment. But as we laud the benefits and advancements that will improve medical care from a physician’s perspective, from smartphone apps and EMR; we should also continually note the advancement that the general population also garners from mobile health technology and its many initiatives. The unique part of this new campaign is that it empowers the patient to seek out and be involved in his own care. And that in the end will hopefully remove fear and improve care for the growing Hispanic population.