BPHC Releases Research on Bronx Healthcare Use and Patient Communications

Findings Reveal Strong Preference for Personal Connection with Doctors

BRONX, NY – September 6, 2018 – Bronx Partners for Healthy Communities (BPHC), the DSRIP Performing Provider System of SBH Health System (St. Barnabas Hospital), has released research on how Bronx community members use healthcare and prefer to communicate with their doctors.

Among the findings is that survey respondents rated phone calls as the most preferred way to have doctors communicate with them for scheduling and appointment reminders. In follow-up focus groups, patients also expressed interest in digital communications that would allow them to interact with their doctors and continue to have a two-way communication.

The research also looked at how residents use and learn about healthcare including likelihood of having a primary care physician (PCP), barriers to accessing care, awareness of urgent care centers, and where they go to learn about local health programs.

Highlights include:

  • The likelihood of having a PCP and going for regular checkups is high but varies by gender, ethnicity and age. For instance, 91% of African American respondents say they have a doctor who regularly provides care to themselves or their family compared with 73% of Spanish-speaking Hispanics.
  • In  focus groups, both English- and Spanish-speaking participants cited making healthcare appointments as a barrier to accessing care, often noting the need to schedule appointments a month or two in advance.
  • Awareness of urgent care centers was not high in focus groups; yet those who had used urgent care were positive about their experiences. Many reported they did not understand their function and conveyed concerns about how to pay for urgent care.
  • To learn about local community programs that address health issues, English-speaking survey respondents rated social media as the most effective method, followed by their doctor and local TV. Spanish-speaking respondents rated their doctor first followed by TV and then social media.

BPHC led quantitative and qualitative research including one-on-one “intercept” interviews with community members and focus group discussions with Bronx patients who have a chronic illness or behavioral health condition. The research targeted survey respondents and focus group participants who live in the Central Bronx. BPHC conducted the research through Zebra Strategies, a New York-based market research firm.

“This insight allows us to better understand how our communities access care and the communication channels they use so that we can design and deliver programs in a way that serves their needs and preferences,” says Irene Kaufmann, BPHC Executive Director.

BPHC is one of 25 “Performing Provider Systems” (PPSs) established by DSRIP, the statewide Medicaid transformation demonstration. The primary goal of DSRIP is to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and re-admissions by 25% by ensuring that people on Medicaid have access to a provider system of coordinated, community-based care that focuses on treatment, disease prevention and wellness. BPHC leads community-level initiatives that address our borough’s health and social disparities and is building a provider network of care that is coordinated, patient-focused and improves health outcomes.

Click here for BPHC’s Research Brief which includes additional findings