Language may impact diabetes care for Latinos with limited English

January 24, 2017 02:12

Latino patients with limited English skills may be less likely to take prescribed diabetes medications than other diabetics in the US even when they see Spanish-speaking doctors, a recent study suggests.

When researchers studied 31,000 patients with diabetes who received insurance and healthcare through Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, they found that about 60 percent of Spanish-speaking Latino patients skipped filling prescriptions at least 20 percent of the time in the two years after they were told they needed the drugs to help control the disease.

That rate was only about 52 percent among English-speaking Latino patients and 38 percent among white patients.

"Latino patients with diabetes, even when insured and facing relatively low barriers to healthcare, are much more likely to have poor medication adherence than their white counterparts," said lead study author Dr. Alicia Fernandez, a researcher at San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.

The study didn't find any difference in medication adherence for diabetics with limited English based on whether they saw Spanish-speaking doctors.

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