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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(3), 3301-3316;

Decreasing Health Disparities for People with Disabilities through Improved Communication Strategies and Awareness

Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, 171 76, Sweden
Section of Clinical Sciences, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 14 January 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 19 March 2015
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Factors influencing access to health care among people with disabilities (PWD) include: attitudes of health care providers and the public, physical barriers, miscommunication, income level, ethnic/minority status, insurance coverage, and lack of information tailored to PWD. Reducing health care disparities in a population with complex needs requires implementation at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. This review article discusses common barriers to health care access from the patient and provider perspective, particularly focusing on communication barriers and how to address and ameliorate them. Articles utilized in this review were published from 2005 to present in MEDLINE and CINAHL and written in English that focused on people with disabilities. Topics searched for in the literature include: disparities and health outcomes, health care dissatisfaction, patient-provider communication and access issues. Ineffective communication has significant impacts for PWD. They frequently believe that providers are not interested in, or sensitive to their particular needs and are less likely to seek care or to follow up with recommendations. Various strategies for successful improvement of health outcomes for PWD were identified including changing the way health care professionals are educated regarding disabilities, improving access to health care services, and enhancing the capacity for patient centered care. View Full-Text
Keywords: health disparities; barriers; communication; strategies health disparities; barriers; communication; strategies

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sharby, N.; Martire, K.; Iversen, M.D. Decreasing Health Disparities for People with Disabilities through Improved Communication Strategies and Awareness. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 3301-3316.

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