-African Americans: In general, African Americans have a historic mistrust of the medical system, and a lack of confidence in some health care providers driven by racial discrimination and poor patient-physician communication.
-Hispanics: Strong family ties influence health care behavior of Hispanics. One study of Hispanic patients found that over 75% wanted their physician to discuss their diagnosis with a family member instead of themselves.
-Asian Americans: South Asian patients value information when making health care decisions. They may come to appointments well prepared with information and may ask physicians to explain the decision process or why a certain drug was prescribed if they disagree with their health care provider’s opinion. In contrast, Chinese American patients tend to be compliant with their doctor’s medical advice and may defer to health care providers for drug choice. Chinese American patients also prefer branded medicines because the term ‘generic’ loosely translates to ‘fake drug’ in Chinese.
-Eastern-Europeans: Russian-speaking (former Soviet and Eastern Block) Americans have a high preference for branded products over generics, and tend to purchase medication from an independent local pharmacy where the pharmacist speaks their first language.
-Senior Populations: Many elderly immigrants have a limited exposure to Western medicine, especially Russian speakers and Asian-Americans. It is not uncommon for elderly immigrants to practice some folk or traditional medicine.
It’s common for Americans whose first language is not English to prefer health care providers that share their language. Hispanics without a Spanish-speaking physician are more likely to omit medication, miss office appointments, and visit the emergency room for care. Chinese Americans have a high preference to be treated by Chinese-speaking HCPs. Language discordance can create barriers to effective HCP/patient communication amongst Asian-\ Americans in general. Russian-speaking American patients strongly prefer to interact with Russian-speaking physicians, feeling more comfortable expressing themselves in their native language.
Areas of Opportunity:
- CRM Programs – continue to engage with audiences on disease education and adherence messaging
- Health Plans – a new and growing segment for health plans to increase market share
- Retail Pharmacies – an opportunity to close the patient loop by engaging patients in their community