Healthcare News & Insights

Chronic care management programs help address avoidable readmissions among Hispanic patients  

People with different ethnic backgrounds require different things from your facility and providers. Tailoring their care can make a big difference in their medical outcomes. In this guest post Mario Anglada, CEO of Hoy Health, details how other hospitals can reduce readmissions by adopting a chronic care management program designed specifically for Hispanic patients.

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Hospital executives and administrators are waking up to the healthcare disparity that exists among Hispanic populations  intoohe U.S. T often disparity leads to sub-optimal health care for Hispanic people who face a barrage of barriers, such as cultural/language differences, lack of access to preventive and primary care, and being under- or uninsured.

They also have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the U.S. What’s more, 31% of Hispanic people in the U.S. say they aren’t fluent in English, while 22.6% of Hispanic people in the U.S. in comparison to 10.4% of non-Hispanic whites were living at the poverty level.

For these reasons, hospital leaders who are keen to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions, improve treatment adherence, enhance outcomes and lower costs should consider adopting a chronic care management program designed specifically to augment care for Hispanic patients.

Solutions tailored to Hispanic populations hold great promise for closing gaps by drastically simplifying access, delivering quality health and wellness products, and enabling individuals to learn about their health, determine their wellness needs, get low cost medications, manage chronic conditions and engage in behavior changes that empower them to lead healthier, more productive lives.

Chronic disease management

The best approach is to partner with a chronic care management provider that understands and can answer the unmet healthcare needs and limited access to affordable care among Hispanic families. They should offer solution platforms that are digitally accessible, bilingual, culturally relevant and HIPAA-compliant, and include not only a chronic condition management program, but also affordable Rx drugs and telehealth/virtual services.

Look for an end-to-end clinical solution for patients with diabetes, hypertension, asthma and obesity, as well as discounts or vouchers for medications, peripheral devices, testing supplies, electronic tablets, apps and access to lifestyle coaches.

These solutions must be designed to engage Hispanic populations in ways that are culturally and medically relevant to meet the unique health needs for Hispanic people in the U.S. and overcome issues such as lack of physician availability or uninsured status.

Chronic conditions among hispanic groups

Cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21 percent of deaths and, despite a lower incidence among minority populations, some groups have worse survival for hematologic malignancies. Black and Hispanic patients with acute myeloid leukemia had increased risk of death by 12% and 6%, respectively, compared with non-Hispanic whites.

While Hispanic people are less likely than non-Hispanic white Americans to be diagnosed with the most common cancers – lung, colorectal, breast and prostate – they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as liver, stomach and cervix.

One study found that Mexican American and Puerto Rican American males die at twice the rate of non-Hispanic whites from stomach and liver cancers – the two most troubling cancers for Hispanic Americans. Furthermore, liver cancer mortality rates are increasing for males and females of all Hispanic groups.

Effective strategies for decreasing cancer rates among Hispanics include the use of culturally appropriate patient advisors and targeted, community‐based intervention programs to increase screening and vaccination rates and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Hematologic Malignancies

When it comes to healthcare disparity for those with blood diseases, one example is the study that determined that black and Hispanic patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) had increased risk of death by 12% and 6%, respectively, compared with non-Hispanic whites. These disparities existed despite a higher prevalence of favorable cytogenetics and a younger age at diagnosis in these minority groups. Some studies have demonstrated relatively poor adherence to medications and follow-up care among African Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups.

With an increasingly diverse American population, it’ll become imperative for outcomes to improve among all racial and ethnic groups to overcome current disparities in incidence and survival for patients diagnosed with hematologic malignancies. Research in this area should evaluate the social determinants and biologic hypotheses for these differences.

Chronic care management and technology

It’s important to note the high level of technology adoption among Hispanics presents an opportunity to provide access to health care for this ever-growing population, designed specifically to meet their cultural and medical needs.  In fact, 84% of all Hispanic people are online and Hispanic community internet smartphone usage is 25% more than the national average.

Some solutions provide a free drug savings card so cash-pay consumers can save significant amounts on brand name and generic medications across a wide network of pharmacies. A bilingual telemedicine platform providing remote, internet-based, video consultation with state-licensed and board-certified physicians is essential for helping Hispanic families in the U.S. access better care for their needs.

As more research is done to address the disparities in treatment for cancer and blood diseases, hospital leaders can play a key role by partnering with chronic care management providers who integrate technology designed to close gaps in care for Hispanic and other underserved populations in the U.S.

Mario Anglada is CEO of Hoy Health that provides consumers with total health and wellness solutions that enhance their lives with customized solutions that allow culturally relevant care in English and Spanish.

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