Having recently funneled my research topic to the question, “What are different ways culture influences health care, and how can issues due to cultural differences be addressed?”, I have been researching more about my topic. Using my school’s EBSCO resources, I found three academic journals about doctor-patient interaction, with two out of the three addressing Mexican immigrants in the United States in particular (healthcare barriers, however, are seen in all immigrant populations; I decided to focus on Mexican immigrants because they are a significantly large population and are from a region that is very close to the United States yet so culturally distinct).
One study, led by Nancy Contro, discussed the experiences of Mexican immigrants tending to their sick children in the United States, who unfortunately eventually died. The second study I found, led by Dorothy Collins, referred to Mexican cancer patients in the United States. In both studies, the conclusions were that there are barriers such as language, poverty, and inability to relate to health care providers significantly affected the effectiveness of medical care. There is a great tension found in all those cases between cultural identity and medical care in a foreign country.
The third journal summarized a study among doctors from the Netherlands that suggest that training in intercultural communication for medical care providers is valuable and does benefit both the provider and patient. Although there was no quantifiable significant difference in interactions whether the provider took the training or not, those who conducted the study also state that their method of analysis, the Roter interaction analysis system, may have been unsuitable for the case at hand, since they observed subtle differences that made big differences in effectiveness of communication, such as length of the communications and how the patient interacted more openly towards the provider.
Contro, Nancy, et al. “Away from Home: Experiences of Mexican American Families in Pediatric Palliative Care.” Journal of Social Work in End-Of-Life & Palliative Care, vol. 6, no. 3/4, Jul-Dec2010, pp. 185-204. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15524256.2010.529020.
Collins, Dorothy, et al. “Crossing Borders, Crossing Cultures: Barriers to Communication about Cancer Prevention and Treatment along the U.S./Mexico Border.” Patient Education & Counseling, vol. 71, no. 3, June 2008, pp. 333-339. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.pec.2008.03.013.
Schouten, Barbara C., et al. “The Impact of an Intervention in Intercultural Communication on Doctor–Patient Interaction in the Netherlands.” Patient Education & Counseling, vol. 58, no. 3, Sept. 2005, pp. 288-295. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.pec.2005.06.005.Tags: equityHealthcareImmigrationresearch