Two recent studies examined possible links between the medical adherence rates of Latinos and whether their primary care physicians speak Spanish.
The first study analyzed data from approximately 31,000 diabetes patients in Kaiser
Permanente, a managed
care consortium in Oakland,
California. It found that 60.2 percent of Spanish-speaking Latino patients
did not adhere to their medication regimes, compared with 51.7 percent of
English-speaking Latino patients.
White patients had a 37.5 percent nonadherence rate. Assigning the limited-English
patients to doctors who spoke Spanish did not affect the rates.
The researchers said the study “suggests that more needs to be done to improve adherence to newly
prescribed medications among Latino patients at all levels of English
The second study looked at data from more than 1,600 Kaiser patients with
diabetes and limited English ability who switched doctors. Rates of glycemic
control -- medical adherence -- increased by 10 percent among patients who switched to a Spanish-speaking
doctor from a non-Spanish-speaking one.
"Latino patients with concordant PCPs (primary care providers) were previously
shown to be twice as likely to receive counseling about diet and exercise as
Latino patients with discordant PCPs,” the study's authors said.
“(Limited-English-proficient) patients switching to concordant PCPs may find it
easier to discuss diet and exercise recommendations or complex treatments
compared with using interpreters.”
Both studies were published in JAMA
Studies examine medication adherence and language barriers
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