October 13: Today on TownHall, Karla Arzola, Director of Information Technology - Swedish Medical Center at HealthONE speaks with Eric Quiñones, Chief Healthcare Advisor at World Wide Technology about their heritage and challenges the Hispanic community face when seeking care and in other aspects of life. As Karla points out 20% of the US population is Hispanic and that is set to increase to 30% by 2050, but the percentage of Hispanic physicians is a staggeringly low 2.5%. What role does language play in relation to healthcare and education for this population now and in the future? What are other societal and environmental issues Hispanics are facing right now? What is one thing Eric recommends to help uplift the community specifically in the healthcare space?
Sign up for our webinar: “Delivering Better Patient Experience with Modern Digital Infrastructure” - Thursday, October 13, 2022: 1pm ET / 10am PT. https://thisweekhealth.com/briefing_campaigns/delivering-better-patient-experience-with-modern-digital-infrastructure/
Sign up for our webinar: Cyber Insecurity in Healthcare: The Cost and Impact on Patient Safety and Care - Thursday, November 3, 2022: 1pm ET / 10am PT. https://thisweekhealth.com/cyber-insecurity-in-healthcare-the-cost-and-impact-on-patient-safety-and-care_cybersecurity/
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Today on This Week Health.
Language plays a big part of obviously how we communicate, right? ,
and if a patient they may speak Spanglish and they're speaking to somebody. that They speak a little different dialect of Spanish.
There's a loss of an interpretation, right? they may respond and then the patient, hears what's being said, but right there, and then at that particular moment, they may lose trust
Welcome to This Week Health Community. This is TownHall a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels designed to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show sponsors Olive, Rubrik, Trellix, Medigate and F5 in partnership with Sirius Healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Now onto our show.
Good afternoon everybody. My name is Carla Sola and I'm the IT director at Swedish Medical Center, which is an HA facility here in Colorado. And for today, podcast we're gonna have as a guest somebody very, very, Very special.
His name is Eric Ez. So Eric is the Chief Healthcare Advisor at Worldwide Technology. He's also a physician, technologist, innovator, strategist, patient advocate, you name it. that's what Eric is. So Eric, why don't you introduce yourself.
Absolutely Parla. So thank you for having me.
Again, my name's Eric Es. I am one of our Chief healthcare advisors here at Worldwide Technology. My background, boy clinically I've been bonding physician, but outside of that I have been in healthcare. It digital, For over 20 plus years. And in one way or another, either as a user or as a leader and really helping to transform healthcare by using obviously technology but not to do it in such a way where we leave out, obviously our physicians and we leave out our, patients and really trying to, bring technologies that make sense.
To help the workflows and to help patient care, but to also think about the people and the process and the data as well.
Absolutely. But thank you for that intro and Eric. We talked about this before, this is really not a conversation about technology. And the things that you've done cuz you've done wonderful things.
And then we can definitely have another conversation to talk about that. But this is mostly for you and I to converse about. Some of the challenges that the industry or the healthcare industry is facing as our population is becoming more diverse, right? Mm-hmm. . And so, before we jump into that we continue to celebrate heritage month.
And you also have a Hispanic background. So, why don't you tell us again, what does the Hispanic heritage means to you? Like, why, what do you celebr.
Thank you, Carla. Yes, we definitely share that in common. And what does it mean to me? , it's interesting because not too long ago, we didn't really think of it as something that was really carved out from, September to mid October.
It was just something that I guess I just always, was part of my background. But as it's become more on the, front end and we are discussing it more, or acknowledging it more what it means to me is really appreciation and. I would say an understanding of our accomplishments and our struggles as well as Latinos, as Hispanics, as whatever we wanna call ourselves, right?
We come in many different flavors from all over the world but I think it's, important to really take pause and not just for that period of time, but to really think about it. Really I think about it almost every. In one way or one form or another, especially, you know, as a father, of a 18 year old and a 14 year old.
There's a lot of lessons to teach and to make sure we continue our traditions and to maintain our culture and sure that that doesn't get lost in the world that we.
Absolutely. And we'll, we'll, because I wanna really talk a little bit about your background, cuz your story's fascinating, right?
You went from, your parents coming from a different country and then you growing up here and then you becoming a doctor from a very, very recognized university which is a huge accomplishments. And then after that, everything else that you. And so, before that, so we talked about some statistics, right?
We talk about let's see, 20% population. The US he's talent is being Hispanic and Latino or Latino which is the second largest ethnic group in the country.We also know that by:
Which is amazing. I mean, compared to the amount of Hispanic population that we have in the country. Right? Right. And so we, we'll talk about the impact in that. So one of the questions that I have for you is What is the role that language plays relative to healthcare and education for the increasing population now and in the future?
It's huge. Karla and that's a, that's a great question. I think what happens is we sometimes forget that language plays a big part of obviously how we communicate, right? , and words are important as we've learned and I think. What we find is that when we're working with patients that may speak Spanish, and again, they may speak a certain type of Spanish, right?
The words, the dialect, the meaning, because, Spanish from, let's say some parts of maybe Cuba are very different than other parts in Mexico or Honduras or other parts of Latin America. And are obviously Spain, right? The custodian Spanish. So it's very different and the words that we use can be maybe misinterpreted.
And if a patient comes from a certain part of let's say Mexico, or here in Los Angeles, they may speak Spanglish and they use Spanish in a way that they're accustomed to and they're speaking to somebody. that May have a very formal education of Spanish or they speak a little different dialect of Spanish.
There's a loss of an interpretation, right? So it can be that the patient may say something and the person listening is not really connecting and they may respond and then the patient, hears what's being said, but right there, and then at that particular moment, they may lose trust in that particular, maybe it's a caregiver or maybe it's someone else that's a part of the health system.
So it's really important language and the type of language that is being spoken to us that we take the time to understand. And I think the good way to do that is, maybe if you don't speak, you speak your Spanish right? And, but you wanna like open it up to the patient and say, Hey, I speak Spanish.
But, or I'm working on my Spanish and it may not, you know, and I'm gonna work with you, and you please work with me and correct me if I'm wrong and I'm fine. When I speak to patients or others like that, they're very open to helping, but that's important to be the precursor prior to the relationship starting.
And also not have assumptions. And I know you have a story about this one too, right? Sometimes people believe that because you have a Hispanic background or because you have a Hispanic last name, you speak Spanish. But then there's that generation, it's. Second or third generation of Mexicans that are in this country, or just Hispanic people in this country that maybe they just didn't grow up learning Spanish and it's not great, and they don't feel comfortable in that sense.
So is that something, I mean, I know that you have a story in regards to that, right? And Okay. Can you share that story with that? Cause I think it's just so interesting that, you know again
Sure. Sure. So I think that's a common thing. So I identify myself as Chicano.
Okay. So is it Chicano? I'm Mexican-American, but I have a lot of pride in my culture, my Mexican roots, et cetera. But we were here I've been here in the southern, I would say in the southwest for about nine generations. , my European ancestry goes back to the early 15 hundreds in the New Mexico area, so it was Mexico then.
So we've been here for a long time, however, I don't speak Spanish fluently. And why that happened is during the fifties and sixties a lot of, Spanish speaking maybe Mexican-American peoples went through a lot of prejudice when they spoke Spanish in public places. So, for example, my parents, they were Disciplined for speaking Spanish in school.
So they didn't want their kids to go through the same experience. So they didn't teach us Spanish. Where I learned Spanish was at my grandparents or with my grandparents. So I learned Spanglish. So I would speak to my grandmother in Spanish, she was, or English, and she'd speak to me in Spanish.
And I picked it up along the way, of course. Something that I found interesting happened to my son just recently. So he's 14, starting high school. Last name's. Skin colors like mine. And the Spanish teacher said to him, Shouldn't you be in Spanish too? Didn't know him from anybody else, but called him out in front of class.
And he said, No, I've never had Spanish. Well, she carried on and she formally tried to get him pushed to Spanish too. Through administrative channels. My wife got involved and she said, no, he's never had formal Spanish. We speak English here in the household.
And it got to the point when she made it official and tried to get him pushed to Spanish too. I got involved. And I don't like to do that. But I got involved and I told her very directly, I'm like, No. And I explained to her why. And I go, Is it because he has a Spanish surname? Is it because he is dark skin?
He speaks some Spanish because he plays soccer at a very high level. And the teammates he's had, and some of the coaches he has had also speak Spanish, right? So he's picked up phrases here and there, but he is by no means does he have the fundamentals in the found. . And so anyway, long story short, I even noted I go, His sister just graduated the year before, same last name, lighter complected.
She never got questioned. And right then and there she was very apologetic. She said, Okay, we're gonna keep in Spanish one and we're fine. But that happens. So the assumptions can go both ways.
Right, We'll get back to our show in just a moment. I'd like to share with you an upcoming webinar we have on October 13th. We have delivering better patient experiences with Modern Digital Infrastructure. During that conversation, we're gonna talk about multi-cloud. We're gonna talk about modernizing health IT infrastructure, and a blueprint for creating an agile digital infrastructure without impacting quality of care. The webinar has five campaign episodes you can view. Before the webinar and you can find all that stuff on our website this week. call.com. Also, join us on November 3rd for cyber insecurity in healthcare, the cost of impact on patient safety and care. Cyber criminals have shut down CRI clinical trials and treatment studies and cut off hospitals, access to patient records demanding multimillion dollar ransoms for their return. Our webinar will discuss it budgeting project priority and in distress communications to serve our patients affected by cyber criminals. You can register for both webinars at this week, health.com. Just click on the upcoming webinar section in the top right hand corner and I look forward to seeing you there. 📍 📍
Right, Right. Absolutely. I think those are the things that we just kind of keep in mind as we are engaging with people, whether there are colleagues or patients or whomever.
And it doesn't necessarily have to be Hispanic. Right. It's. Any other culture and migrated to the US at some point is just like, we just, can't assume first of all that they're familiar with our environment. And second of all that they speak either language, either not English or English.
So, things that we're facing and then we just kind of have to create more awareness about and so, Another thing that I wanna ask you is what are some of the societal and environmental issues that the Hispanic population are facing, and what can we do to address these issues, Eric?
Well, I think there's, a lot of societal issues that, we face and I think that, you name it from, the example I just gave about my son, that's in school or in healthcare if I think about healthcare, I think about, patients reaching out to get care, right?
So, for example, they may not, trust. The system of healthcare because they themselves may be afraid that they may be deported, for example. Right. But they may really need the. So what I've seen is that a lot of times is that patients will literally go across the border and get care in Mexico where they feel comfortable and then they have to come back, here with their families.
So and they may be US citizens, I'm just saying like, they just don't trust the system, Right. And for whatever reason and I've seen that happen. So there's a lot. Things I think that need to be addressed in terms of education and trust is really a big one. So really having to, helping to build that trust.
But again, it goes back to the statistic that you noted. We don't have enough Latino, Hispanic physicians Care clinicians caregivers. Literally with two and a half percent of our million plus physicians, that's, Not a lot, right? So we really have to do better and to be able to bridge that gap so we can build that trust.
Yeah, I think that if that makes some sense.
I mean, the ratio is just not equivalent, right? I mean, we have 0.5% of physicians and then we have our population's, 20% Hispanics. And the problem that you were saying that happens is like people go across the border, but then when people become really sick, They end up going to the hospital and we still cannot provide the care that we need to because we don't have, historical information about the patient.
Right. We don't know how they like to communicate. There's not that connection and that becomes a bigger problem. Right. Right. And so as we all know, we spend, Millions and billions and trillions of dollars in childcare. And one of the factors is specifically that people are gonna adopt the wait until become critically.
I, and then, it becomes expensive. And so there's definitely work that we as technologies needs to do to be able to address those issues proactively, is like, how can we connect with our patients, right? How can we, communicate with them? And then the other thing that I was gonna tell you, I thought it was interesting is, Speak English to some first generation, but then my, parents don't.
And so we still go as a family with a doctor and try to connect. So how does that happen? Right. But I still have the customs that I grew up with. So I expect the same, even though I speak English and they speak Spanish. Would you agree with that?
Right. And that's true. I mean, that's know, when my, grandparents were alive, I did the same thing and I had to.
Interpret a lot for them. And matter of fact, this goes back to my grandmother was a very good patient. She really was awesome. She did everything that the doctor told her to do. Yes. so telehealth wasn't even a word back. I would say it wasn't a very common word back in those days. But I had one of my first telehealth visits with my grandmother.
I had gone home, I was back east and but I gone home to back in Wilmington in Los Angeles, and I set up their computer and I set up their network and everything. And I told her how to show her how to use it so we can communicate. Cause I'm very close to my grandparents and one day I'm, speaking with her and she's talking to me and I noticed her, she was a little labored in her breathing.
And then I asked her to take the camera, let me see her ankles. And so she go, Press on your ankles. So she had edema. And I said, Okay, let me call my aunt and let me have her come and take you to your doctor. I actually, she had to go to urgent care, so it took her to urgent care, but if it wasn't, just that connection where I'm able to communicate with my grandmother.
She would not have had that intervention early on. Right. She would've been taken to the hospital via ambulance. So, yeah, so it's important for sure.
Yeah, I mean, not everybody's lucky enough to have a grandson that is a physician, and obviously that has that communication, right? And you're asking the right question.
So the majority of the people doesn't have that. And so it's very important that they definitely have that trust on their physician, whether it's Hispanic or not, to be able to have those conversations and make sure that we're preventing, an event, a critical event. And so, we talked about obviously physicians and we can talk about technologists as well, and, the industry in general.
I mean, there's not that many Hispanics. I was actually telling you a story in which, I'm highlighting our Hispanic executives this month and it wasn't that easy. To, I mean, it was a handful of people that I could reach out to. Right? And yet, I mean, we are in an industry in which on a daily basis we're making decisions on how to take care of people.
And so what are your thoughts and how can we make sure that we're uplifting those communities, like in this case, per se, Hispanic leaders in the industry to make sure that, they're collaborating, and they're bringing their ideas into making sure, and again, or brought up into those conversations because obviously you understand what that population needs.
So what do you think we could do, Eric What are some of your ideas?
It's a good question and I think it starts with, having the opportunities to do mentoring.
And again, it sometimes those opportunities come in a very Official way. I mean, there's mentoring programs, right? Or maybe not so official, or maybe it's just more organic. But I think not just waiting on the sidelines, to let it happen to you. Like, in other words, both ways though.
The mentor and the mentee. So I think as the mentor, because I've had that luxury or that, that honor, I should say, to be a mentor. And to be able to do that, I've had to actively go and I've done both. I've had like official programs and then sometimes I've had these organic situations occur where I wasn't looking to be a mentor and nor were they may be looking to have a mentor relationship, the mentee and, but it just organically developed.
So I think it's to be proactive, to be mindful of. it To understand that, we as let's say, leaders, we have a big responsibility. Because we have to be able to go back into either our communities or the places that we work in, and look for those folks that are actually, trying to gain access into IT or into healthcare, for example.
I do work with my best friend and I went to medical school together, and he's Pano and we do a lot of work in this area and we try to, do mentoring with young med students. Okay. And as they're coming, making the, journey across is not very easy.
Right. And what I mean across, meaning the journey to medical school and the residency and all that stuff. It's a very It's a crazy path and not always geared for, folks like myself. Right? So to be able to help and show that, hey, if I can do it, honestly, you can do it. Then the same with it, it's a path that I took because I really loved.
The possibility of using technology in healthcare, and this is in the early days of the EHR development. I really love, I just saw the writing on the wall that just makes a lot of sense. And I'm like, why are we doing it that way with paper? And so moving forward to be able to bring new ideas and a new population, a new generation into the industry, it's an.
active Engagement. It's not passive. So that's my point is you need to be active about it on both sides. Absolutely. Mentor and the mentee need to be active. So if I'm a mentee, I need to be, out, looking and trying to find, well, who's somebody I'd like to emulate? Who is that person?
And, and it sounds easier set than done, right?
Obviously it's not, because, just depends where you're coming from. And you and I talked about our cultures being, you know,, we didn't know where we're, where we're coming to this country. What we needed to do in order to be successful. We kind of learned along the way, and it was not planned.
It was just like you said, we were lucky that the opportunities presented to us and we too come. But then it just, it didn't come natural asking for help either. And so I think you have the right point, right? We need to be intentional as leaders. To ask, anybody that needs help to come to us.
And this is something, I mean, you and I have taught having this conversation. I am volunteering myself or any of you that are out there that have a question, need help. You can always reach out to Eric and ask and aee and we can tell you our story and we can share some of the things that we've done right that made us get to where we are.
I obviously still have ways to go, but, think I'm on the right path. And you're absolutely right Eric. I think he's just ask for help, right? Don't be shy. I know this could be intimidating, but find somebody that you can really trust and just ask for help.
So what else you wanna add? Just to close our segment. Great. Anything else you think is important?
I think right now is a, wonderful time in the sense of well, in healthcare there's a lot of change happening. There's a lot of things happening on the technology front in healthcare. So that's exciting. But bringing it back to Hispanic Heritage Month, Latinx Heritage Month I'm very proud.
Being Latino, I am super proud. Like if you know me, like if you come to my house, it's everywhere. It's in my food, it's in my art, , it's everywhere. And I think that's something that we have to continue to embrace and remember where we come from because. The road isn't always defined and there could be many obstacles and many detours, but when you remember where you come from, that helps give you some sense of peace and direction.
So there you go.
Well, thank you for that. That's absolutely true. Very inspiring. I mean, I've known your story, you shared with me, so it's very inspiring to me and I am honored to have this space with you. Eric. I'm very excited. I got to meet you as well because, I mean, again, we just met maybe, what a month, three weeks ago or something like that.
So it's been very short period of time. But I've enjoyed our conversations and I can wait to continue our conversations and at some point, hopefully collaborate, but. Appreciate the time and you have a wonderful day.
Thank you so much. And likewise. I look forward to actually meeting you in person very soon.
absolutely. We will take care.
Okay, well, bye
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