There are 54 million Latinos living in the United States, constituting 17 percent of the population. Politicians have taken notice and are paying attention to Latinos as an important voting demographic. Healthcare providers are beginning to do so, too.
Latinos have been disenfranchised by the U.S. healthcare system because of legal status, English language skills and financial constraints. Fewer than 4 percent of healthcare providers speak Spanish and most do not know how to approach the cultural and economic diversity within the Latino population. Even native English speakers can’t make sense of PPOs vs. HMOs. As a result, Latinos are 1 out of every 5 uninsured individuals in the U.S. and leverage healthcare services differently than other demographic cohorts
As hospitals compete for volume, they cannot ignore 1 out of 5 Americans. In order to win the loyalty of this untapped customer segment, we will see Latino-branded services with evening and weekend hours to serve dual-income families. Since these services will be built from scratch to provide high-quality care at low prices, they might leap frog the care that the rest of the population currently receives.
Change has historically come slowly and reluctantly to the healthcare industry, but thanks to widespread demand from the government, payers, and consumers for improvement in coverage and care, it seems to be speeding up.