"Direct communication between physicians and their patients is crucial. Language barriers or misunderstandings should never prevent patients from receiving the best health care possible, but unfortunately I've seen firsthand that it does," said Haydee Muse, M.D., Senior Medical Director, Aetna. "Poor communication - or lack of communication - can result in embarrassment, confusion and fear for patients. In some cases, it can impact the quality of care because physicians don't have the information they need to understand a patient's condition or because a patient may not be able to understand their physician."
The Hable Con Su Médico program will help Spanish-speaking patients learn how to take control of their health. The new, easy-to-follow guidelines developed by Plan for Your Health will empower patients with the information they need to better communicate with their doctors and, ultimately, help to ensure that they receive quality medical care. The guidelines provide the following four steps patients can follow to make their next visit to the doctor more successful:
The full guidelines can be viewed in Spanish at www.PlanifiqueParaSuSalud.com, or in English at www.PlanforYourHealth.com. Helpful information and tips for working with a translator and getting the most out of health benefits are also available on these sites.
"Regardless of what language a patient speaks, following the Hable Con Su Médico guidelines before, during and after doctor's visits will help improve communication and overall health," said Dr. Muse. "While there are federal and state laws that mandate language services for people with limited English proficiency, and translators in some medical offices, these efforts are sometimes not enough. The guidelines may seem like small steps, but following them will make a big difference in the care received."
Aetna launched the Plan for Your Health consumer education campaign in partnership with the Financial Planning Association in English in September 2004. Planifique Para Su Salud and Hable Con Su Médico are extensions of the program to help all Americans make smart health benefits and financial planning decisions. The campaign Web site, www.PlanifiqueParaSuSalud.com, offers culturally-relevant tips, tools and information to help consumers choose, use and get the most value from their health benefits.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. www.aetna.com
About Plan for Your Health
Plan for Your Health, a public education campaign from Aetna and the Financial Planning Association, gives consumers the information they need to make health benefits and financial choices that meet their needs now and in the future. The Web site focuses on five life events when women need to re-examine their health benefits - career, marriage, family, living single and retirement - and offers consumer-friendly tools, tips and content that support well-informed decision-making. www.PlanforYourHealth.com