Communication Barriers between Patients and Healthcare Providers Regarding Disclosure of Herbal Product Use

Armando Stuart Gonzalez, University of Texas at El Paso


A considerable portion of our international border Hispanic population traditionally uses medicinal herbs as an alternative option for treating various chronic diseases and may take them alongside prescribed medications. More in-depth research is very necessary to determine why and under what conditions patients use herbs concomitant to medications, and why many do not discuss this with their physicians. Barriers to communication between patients and healthcare providers can encourage non-disclosure of herbal product use, which may interfere with prescribed medications, placing patients at serious risk for various herb-drug interactions. This qualitative descriptive study utilized purposive sampling, employing six focus groups consisting of a total of 37 patients, and semi-structured interviews with 11 healthcare providers, at five community health clinics within El Paso County. This unique approach described in detail the patients’ perspective, as well as explored under-investigated themes such as the healthcare providers’ knowledge and opinion regarding herbal use by their patients. The research questions guiding the study included: What meaning and importance do the uses of medicinal herbs have among Hispanic patients?; What possible barriers exist for disclosure to their healthcare providers?; and What are the healthcare providers’ perceptions regarding herbal use by their patients? Content analysis facilitated the rendering of the themes and subthemes that emerged from the qualitative data. The results show a lack of knowledge regarding medicinal herbs among healthcare providers, which hinders adequate advising of patients about risks or benefits. This research study increases our current understanding of herbal use and how the communication between patients and their healthcare providers could be improved.

Subject Area

Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Gonzalez, Armando Stuart, "Communication Barriers between Patients and Healthcare Providers Regarding Disclosure of Herbal Product Use" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10932680.