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Many Californians with Asthma Have Problems Understanding Their Doctor

Bookmark and Share Report Misuse or Glitches

Publication Date: January 2009

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): Susan H. Babey; Ying-Ying Meng; Malia Jones

Topic: Health (Health services for the chronically ill)

Keywords: asthma; communications; doctors

Coverage: California


In California, 90,000 adults with current asthma have experienced problems understanding their doctors. There are significant disparities in who experiences these communication problems according to education, income, insurance status, English proficiency, race/ethnicity and nativity. In addition, adults with asthma who experience these problems are more likely to go to the emergency department or urgent care facility (ED/urgent care) for asthma care and are less likely to receive asthma management plans from their health care providers.

The authors of this policy brief suggest that improvements in education and communication strategies are needed to facilitate understanding between health care providers and asthma patients, especially when patients have limited English proficiency (LEP) or have low health literacy.


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