Health care provider perceptions of pain treatment in Hispanic patients

Pain Pract. May-Jun 2011;11(3):267-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2010.00421.x. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Despite increasing numbers of Hispanic patients in the United States, this group continues to face disparities in access and quality of pain treatment. Although previous surveys have examined treatment disparities experienced by minority patients, none have provided a provider-centric perspective on issues and concerns surrounding pain relief among pain patients of Hispanic/Latino origin. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between provider characteristics (ie, Spanish fluency, Hispanic caseload size, and experience with Hispanic pain patients) and their perceptions of pain treatment in these patients. One hundred eighty-seven health professionals completed an online survey. The major findings indicated that: (1) less than 20% of health professionals treating Hispanic pain patients reported Spanish proficiency at an advanced level; (2) surveyed health professionals were involved treating a significant proportion of Hispanic patients in their caseloads, but reported a lack of cultural competence training; (3) Spanish fluency and experience with Hispanic pain patients exerts a strong effect on the use of established pain treatment practices; (4) providers with greater Spanish fluency report a significantly greater effect of patients' cultural beliefs and attitudes on treatment; and (5) providers did not regard cultural or language barriers as significantly impacting opioid prescribing or patient compliance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans / education
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Perception*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Surveys and Questionnaires