Thursday, March 20, 2008

Racial Differences

Politics has focused our attention on race. Now a study says race (or more precisely, ethnicity) affects how we perceive health care delivery.

91% of whites rated their care as excellent or good. That percentage fell for most ethnic groups, with the lowest ratings recorded among Chinese-Americans, 74%; African-Americans born in Africa, 73%; and Vietnamese-Americans, 72%.

Note the differentiation for blacks. "African-Americans born in Africa."

This would seem to indicate the dissatisfaction has more to do with culture and/or language.

When it came to getting an appointment, about 63% of whites were able to get an appointment on the same day or the next day after they became sick or injured. That percentage dropped to 42% for Cuban-Americans and 39% for African-Americans born in the Caribbean.

Again note the separation. "African-Americans born in the Caribbean."

This distinction is not referenced for Asians or Cuban-Americans, only blacks.

About three-quarters of whites reported that their doctor listened carefully to them. That percentage fell to 62% for Korean-Americans and 58% for those from Central America or South America.

So the conclusion is?

the Harvard study also showed that there are steps that health care providers can take to improve patients' perceptions, such as resolving language barriers. She said health care providers should incorporate translation services into their practice.

So doctors should pay to have a translator on staff.

Why can't those for whom English is not their primary language bring along a translator?
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