A person’s culture and the language they speak are important in health care. Our family life, cultural experiences and language shape our beliefs, practices and attitudes toward our health. That’s why it’s so important that health care services and information are culturally aligned.
Latino Health Solutions (LHS), part of the UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual market, creates and curates Spanish-language and culturally relevant online, written, audio and visual materials with the goal of helping Hispanic members better understand their health and benefits options. Examples include:
- Extensive bilingual website, uhclatino.com for wellness and insurance information
- Educational podcasts about chronic conditions and promoting health literacy
- “Fotonovelas” focused on healthy lifestyles
- Healthy recipes
- Bilingual, interactive health information kiosks in targeted locations
However, fewer than 10 percent of members fill out their ethnicity and language preference when enrolling. So how does LHS get these amazing resources in front of Hispanic members? This is where HealthState enters the picture. To more effectively and efficiently reach its Hispanic members, LHS needed to first identify these members. In order to identify individuals of Hispanic descent, HealthState used the U.S. Census list of Hispanic surnames and a similar proprietary list developed by LHS, to create an algorithm that searches the UnitedHealthcare claims database to create a list of inferred Hispanic members.
In addition, using geographic information systems (GIS), HealthState illustrates geographic hotspots with the greatest counts and percentages of Hispanic members by state, county and ZIP code. With this information, LHS is reaching out to existing customers with large Hispanic employee bases to deliver specialized tools, materials and resources. In addition, LHS is using these tools for sales enablement — UnitedHealthcare can better serve people with culturally adaptive approaches.
LHS also connected us with the UHC Innovation Team and Latino Health Access, a community organization whose promotoras (community health workers) reach out to Spanish-preference members who haven’t yet completed an annual physician visit. We mapped members in need of outreach, as well as Spanish-speaking providers. Then we paired members with a nearby provider. We are helping the promotoras plan their routes as well. Bringing together our data and public data gives us a fuller picture and enables health plans to deliver more culturally targeted information and services.
HealthState and LHS are excited to continue their partnership. We are currently exploring ways to bring these offerings to other members through UnitedHealthcare Medicaid, Medicare, and Military and Veterans businesses. We aim to ensure that culturally appropriate tools reach the individuals who need them most, and look forward to the innovative ways we will help people live healthier lives.
–Glafira Marcon, HealthState Analyst, Optum Technology Innovation R&D