Modest and Uneven

Physician Efforts to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities

While nearly half of U.S. physicians identify language or cultural communication barriers as obstacles to providing high-quality care, physician adoption of practices to overcome such barriers is modest and uneven, according to a new national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).

Despite broad consensus among the medical community about how physicians can help to address and, ultimately, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, physician adoption of several recommended practices to improve care for minority patients ranges from seven percent reporting they have the capability to track patients’ preferred language to 40 percent reporting they have received training in minority health issues to slightly more than half reporting their practices provide some interpreter services.

The challenges physicians face in providing quality health care to all of their patients will keep mounting as the U.S. population continues to diversify and the minority population increases.