Promoting Appropriate Use of Physicians' Non-English Language Skills in Clinical Care
Communication problems are a key driver of health care disparities. In particular, more than 25 million U.S. residents have limited English proficiency (LEP) and are at risk for language-related miscommunication. Research shows these patients experience more difficulty understanding their treatment plans, are less likely to take their medications correctly, and suffer more medical errors in their care.
Many physicians speak one or more languages other than English, and studies show that patients with LEP who receive care from a bilingual physician have better adherence, lower emergency department use, and higher satisfaction with care. Yet, physicians are extremely heterogeneous in their non-English language skills, ranging from those who speak "a little" of a second language based on high school classes or travel to those who received their medical training in a non-English language. There is little detailed guidance for physicians on the most appropriate ways to use their non-English language skills.
This new report from the Commission to End Health Care Disparities explores these complex issues and provides practical guidance to clinicians, care delivery organizations, and health care systems. It also provides a framework for future research on how physicians can best use their non-English language skills to provide safe, high quality care for patients with LEP.
Ferguson, Warren J. (April 2009).
Jha, Ashish K.; Orav, John E.; Zheng, Jie; Epstein, Arnold M. (April 2009).
The Characteristics And Performance Of Hospitals That Care For Elderly Hispanic Americans
Reschovsky, James D.; O’Malley, Ann S. (April 2009).
Do Primary Care Physicians Treating Minority Patients Report Problems Delivering High-Quality Care?
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (April 2009).
Talking to Latinos About Diabetes Using Words They Understand
Wu, Shinyi, PhD; Ridgely, M. Susan, JD; Escarce, José J., MD, PhD; Morales, Leo S., MD, PhD. (April 2009).
Language Access Services for Latinos with Limited English Proficiency: Lessons Learned from Hablamos Juntos
Reports and resources
CEHCD Fiscal Report 3rd Quarter 2012
2011-2013 Strategic Plan
Physician Interview Project video
Collecting and Using Race, Ethnicity and Language Data in Ambulatory Settings
CEHCD Summary Report of Archived Educational Resources
Health Care Reform Letter to President Obama
Addressing Health Care Disparities: Recommended Goal, Guiding Principles and Key Strategies for Comprehensive Policies
Commission to End Health Care Disparities Five Year Summary Report
Quality Health Care for Minorities: Understanding Physicians' Experiences
Development of a Measure of Physician Engagement in Addressing Racial and Ethnic Health Care Disparities
Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care
State of the Sciences COnference 2011: Diabetes in Asian Americans, Native Hawai'ins & Pacific Islanders - A Call to Action