6 Tips for Attracting Hispanic Patients
Understanding certain characteristics of America's fast-growing Hispanic population, such as as their high use of mobile computing devices, reluctance to share information and a need for better education about health insurance exchanges, can help providers and insurers better attract a community with substantial purchasing power, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study contends. The study, which included surveys of 500 Hispanics and 500 non-Hispanics, offers insights and strategies.
More than 10 million Hispanics are eligible to get health insurance coverage through state insurance exchanges or Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to PwC. Getting their business, however, won’t be easy. “Before devising strategies to win Hispanic consumers, healthcare organizations must first understand the basics about this important demographic.” Hispanics are 17 percent of the population and had $1.2 trillion in purchasing power in 2013. Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas all have at least 1 million Hispanic residents.
When weighing healthcare options, cost is more important than quality and convenience to Hispanics than non-Hispanics, according to PwC. Forty-three percent of surveyed Hispanics delayed care because of cost at least once in the past year, compared to 35 percent of others. In lieu of having a primary physician, they are more likely to use community clinics in the neighborhood, non-traditional settings such as retail clinics, and alternative providers such as pharmacists.
Hispanics surpass non-Hispanic consumers in using mobile devices, leading other consumer groups in 23 of 25 uses for mobile devices. They are more likely to use an app or conduct a Web search for information on physicians and insurers. Nearly one-fifth already use an app or the Internet to make medical appointments with another 31 percent very willing to do so.
Hispanics are less likely than other consumers to share personal information, regardless of benefits gained such as faster appointments or discounts on prescriptions. “Hispanic focus group participants described generations of mistrust of formal institutions such as the government and insurance companies,” according to the PwC study. “Trust is key, but the corporate world and government have failed to earn it. So has the health industry.” The reluctance to share information may in part reflect low participation rates within the Hispanic community in clinical trials. Another impact on trials is a shortage of Hispanic physicians who can help recruit participants.
Many Hispanics are not familiar with the term “health insurance exchange.” Only a third of uninsured Hispanics have visited their state’s exchange and less than half comfortably understood the options available. “Interviews with industry professionals suggested that Hispanics are receiving only sound bites instead of detailed information regarding the ACA,” PwC concludes.
Different strategies for attracting distinct Hispanic subgroups will work better than a one-size-fits-all model. Organizations need to approach Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and other subgroups differently, and also need to understand generational idiosyncrasies and health habits that may be difficult to change.
The full report from PwC, “Hispanics: A Growing Force in the New Health Economy,” is available here. It includes multiple recommendations specific to physicians, insurers and pharmacies.
Understanding certain characteristics of American's fast-growing Hispanic population, such as as their high use of mobile computing devices, reluctance to share information and a need for better education about health insurance exchanges, can help providers and insurers better attract a community with substantial purchasing power, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study contends. The study, which included surveys of 500 Hispanics and 500 non-Hispanics, offers insights and strategies.
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