Help Me Understand

Western New Yorkers say they need clear and comprehensible information to help them make better and more proactive decisions about their health.

Why it Matters

For WNY and the Nation

Effective provider-patient communication is of particular concern in a region where educational levels are relatively low. The percentage of adults in the region with a bachelor's degree or beyond ranges from a low of 11 percent in the rural outskirts of Wyoming County to 25 percent in Erie County. Cultural and language divides serve to compound educational gaps with pockets in the region where more than over one in four residents is an immigrant, one in five struggles with English, and one in three lacks even a high school diploma. More importantly, research shows that providing patients with information and education positively influences their behavior and clinical outcomes. It also makes business sense, leading to greater patient satisfaction and increased likelihood that patients will recommend a physician. (see Do You Know What Your Doctor Is Talking About? By Dr. Pauline Chen in the New York Times, April 2, 2009).