Patient-provider communication patterns among Asian American immigrant subgroups in New York City

Patient Educ Couns. 2021 May;104(5):1049-1058. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2020.10.002. Epub 2020 Oct 6.


Objectives: Patient-provider communication is essential for patient-centered care, yet Asian American immigrant populations face barriers. We aim to describe: 1) patient-reported communication-related characteristics for 16 disaggregated Asian American subgroups; and 2) the association of patient comprehension of provider communication with socio-demographics, language proficiency and concordance, and perceived cultural sensitivity in this population.

Methods: Descriptive statistics are presented for 1269 Asian American immigrants responding to cross-sectional, venue-sampled surveys conducted in New York City. Logistic regression models examine predictors of low comprehension of provider communication.

Results: Approximately 11% of respondents reported low comprehension of provider communication: lowest among South Asians and highest among Southeast Asians. Eighty-four percent were language-concordant with their provider, 90.1% agreed that their provider understood their background and values, and 16.5% felt their provider looked down on them. Low comprehension of provider communication was significantly associated with Southeast Asian subgroup, less education, limited English proficiency, public health insurance, patient-provider language discordance, and perceived low cultural understanding.

Conclusion: Among our sample, language and cultural sensitivity are associated with comprehension of provider communication.

Practice implications: Strategies improving language access and cultural sensitivity may be important for Asian immigrant patients. These could include interpretation services, bilingual community-based providers, and cultural sensitivity training.

Keywords: Asian American; Communication; Cultural competence; Immigrant health; Limited English proficiency; New York City; Patient-provider.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans*
  • Communication
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Humans
  • New York City