This article explores the qualitative data from the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Multicultural and Mental Health Research study summarized above. Open-ended questions were asked in interviews (75% of which were conducted in Spanish) to describe the processes participants underwent while becoming activated and empowered.
The study results show that patient activation and patient empowerment are interdependent. By applying Finfgeld’s empowerment model, the authors found that patient activation – as realized through RQP-MH – included the four stages of empowerment (participating, choosing, supporting, and negotiating).
Many participants enthusiastically embraced the RQP-MH strategy, a strong example of how this skill-building strategy challenges stereotypical models of Latinos as passive and deferential to authority in health care contexts. The authors conclude that RQP-MH improves patient-provider communication, a key first step in addressing disparities in health care quality.
Responses from participants when asked what they learned from the RQP-MH strategy:
“Just more direct, processing what I want to get out of the visit before going, setting goals, having questions I want to ask when I’m there. Making better use of my time, having a plan”
“The survey [training] helped me a lot explaining myself and getting my point across to let him know how I feel instead of letting him tell me how I feel…”
“Now, if something happens to me, we decide together.”
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