Archive for April 25, 2011

U.S. government makes pledge to address health needs of minority groups

If you’re a member of a minority group in the U.S., chances are good that your healthcare, and consequently your health, are worse than that of the rest of the population. This includes everything from higher infant mortality rates to a greater likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and asthma to a shorter life expectancy.

In response, the U.S. government recently announced a first-of-its-kind plan focused on righting the imbalance and bringing parity to healthcare and healthcare access. It addresses the role to be played by doctors, federal health officials, and communities at large, and includes a wide spectrum of health-related objectives, including the following:

  • Increase by 10 percent the number of poor children who receive preventive dental care.
  • Hire local community health workers to help diabetics.
  • Enlist “promotoras,” the name given to community health workers who work with Spanish speakers.
  • Develop incentives to improve care for minority groups.
  • Conduct new studies regarding which treatments work best for minority groups.
  • Create a national online database of certified interpreters that doctors or hospitals can use for non-English-speaking patients.
  • Create state grants to measure and improve care for asthma.

The report also asserts that the funds to finance the multifaceted program would come from existing sources and so is not contingent upon current budget wrangling, which is good.

A promising declaration of purpose, the plan could surely have a beneficial impact in these needy communities. We look forward to seeing what happens from here.

Till next time,

Those searching for health-related content online continues to grow

Today, approximately 80 percent of Internet users look to the web for health-related information information. This puts it behind only email and using a search engine as the most common reason for using the Internet.

According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation (CHFC), the number is only growing, with Internet users finding ever more health-related reasons to venture online.

The top five most popular subjects for health-related searches include the following, in order of frequency/popularity:

  • A disease or medical problem: 66%.
    (The top five issues include: shingles, gallbladder, gout, hemorrhoids, and lupus.)
  • A certain medical treatment or procedure: 56%.
    (Common terms include: pain relievers, anti-depressants, high blood pressure medication, corticosteroids, and hysterectomy.)
  • Doctors or other health professionals: 44%.
  • Hospitals or other medical facilities: 36%.
  • Health insurance, including private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid: 33%.
  • The research revealed that those most likely to look to the web for health information are caregivers, women, whites, younger adults, and adults with at least some college education. But that is changing as the rise of wireless mobile devices enables other groups such as young people, Hispanics, and African Americans to increasingly pursue information online.

    Is your web presence prepared to serve these searchers? How about for the growing population of limited English proficient (LSP) patients? If not, it might be time to consult your language services partner.

    Till next time,