Univision Communications, Inc. revealed the results of its new Hispanic Patient Journey research, which sheds light on the cultural nuances that influence Hispanic patients from awareness and information seeking, to diagnosis and adherence. The study was conducted among respondents who reported symptoms or diagnosis of a chronic condition. The results show that gaps exist along the patient journey due to factors including cultural traditions, language barriers and lack of targeted messaging.
“The good news is that gaps represent opportunities for healthcare marketers,” said Eric Talbot, vice president of Brand Solutions/Healthcare at Univision Communications. “We know that if the Hispanic share of prescription sales equaled their share of the total U.S. population, the pharma industry could capitalize on a $12 billion growth opportunity. Our study will help marketers understand Hispanic patients and develop campaigns to truly engage them.”
Talbot released the findings today at Google’s Hispanic Marketing Forum in a presentation titled “Hispanic Patients: Your Opportunity to Close the Gap.” Google’s Hispanic Industry Manager Manny Miravete, shared the stage and released complementary search query research pointing to an increase in overall interest in online health searches by Hispanics. The results of the study include:
Awareness & Information Seeking: Education Messages are Key
Although Hispanic disease prevalence is on par or higher than the general population for many conditions, Hispanic perception does not reflect that. Forty-seven percent of Hispanics rate their health as very good or excellent as compared to 38% of non-Hispanics.
Hispanics rely more heavily on word of mouth for health-related information than non-Hispanics; 57% said friends and family are a primary source of information vs. 41% of non-Hispanics. Similar to the general population, mothers are the primary caregivers of the family with one focus group participant telling us: “My wife is always telling me to go get a check up!”
Studies show that television is the primary media source for Hispanic health information. In Univision’s Patient Journey research, symptomatic and diagnosed patients reported TV (33%) and online (20%) as their top two media sources. The study also showed that proactively obtaining information about health is a newer concept for many recent immigrants, but the desire and need for information is strong. Said one focus group participant: “In my country, there was not a lot of information. It was only when I got here and had the Internet that I found treatments.”
“It is really a two step process,” said Talbot. “First, patients and caregivers need to become aware of health issues and symptoms. With the Hispanic community, this is best done through traditional media sources such as TV. The second step is to provide more information to increase health literacy. Virtually every brand has a website but the Spanish-language content does not provide the same level of information as is available in English. This is a miss. It is important to health outcomes and a brand’s success that marketers ensure that word of mouth doesn’t lead to misinformation.”
Diagnosis: Focus on Building Trust
Longitudinal data demonstrates that Hispanics are 21% less likely than non-Hispanics to get diagnosed; however, once diagnosed, treatment rates are near parity with non-Hispanics (according to United Healthcare’s OptumInsights). In addition, Univision’s data showed 45% of Hispanics reported visiting a doctor/specialist three or more times a year for their primary condition compared to 32% of non-Hispanics.
Hispanics tend to desire a deeper relationship with their doctor than non-Hispanics, but feel they are not realizing that relationship. Across the board, Univision’s primary research indicates that Hispanics described their relationship with their doctor in less favorable terms than non-Hispanics:
• “understands my fears” (Hispanic 31% vs. non-Hispanic 39%)
• “respects my opinion” (Hispanic 36% vs. non-Hispanic 49%)
• “understands my needs and makes me feel at ease” (Hispanic 40% vs. non-Hispanic 55%)
Hispanics were also significantly less likely to report that doctors discussed benefits and side effects with them (29% vs. 53%).
“Healthcare marketers should consider portraying doctors in campaigns as personable and willing to spend time cultivate a relationship,” said Talbot. “This could help build trust.”
Adherence: Make Medicine Patient-Friendly
According to Univision’s Patient Journey research, an equal percentage of Hispanics and non-Hispanics reported being prescribed treatment. Focus group participants expressed an internal tug of war when it comes to adhering to treatment – they understood that medication can help cure or manage their problems, but also had negative associations related to potential complications.
Despite this, patient level data reports that 54% of Hispanics filled their first prescription vs. 57% of non-Hispanics (United Healthcare’s OptumInsights).
“We found that targeted communications have a strong influence during the adherence phase,” said Talbot. “If marketers connect with Hispanics in their language and culture, they tend to feel more comfortable about taking the medication.”
Google’s Findings: Satisfy Hispanic Thirst for Content
Overall, Spanish-language online health queries grew an average of 588% per sub-category from 2006-2011. Google compared Spanish-language and English-language search terms including “salud” (+272%) vs. “health” (+29%) and saw a higher growth rate in Spanish-language terms over the same time period.
“Our research proves that Hispanics crave more health content in Spanish as they empower themselves to learn more,” said Miravete.
Univision’s Patient Journey study was conducted via longitudinal data, leveraging actual patient behavior via claims data; qualitative sessions in New York and Los Angeles with Spanish-dominant and bilingual participants 18 to 65 years old; and quantitative data that included mall intercepts and online panels from September to October 2011 with Spanish-dominant and bilingual participants 18 to 65 years old.