Caring for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) is a complex process that challenges clinicians in any setting. Being able to effectively communicate is crucial to ensuring the patient’s well-being and safety. But when this process is hindered by a patient or family’s language barrier, quality of care and patient outcomes could be compromised. Even with the assistance of an interpreter, how can we ensure that LEP patients and families truly understand their education? How much health knowledge and health literacy do they need in order to effectively synthesize and apply everything they learned during an encounter? There are a number of factors to consider. …Read More
A Vietnamese-speaking family arrives for a well visit and their clinician is English-speaking. Since the family understands some English, the family and provider move forward with the appointment.
During the visit, some aspects of the conversation were misunderstood or completely missed. The family completes the visit and schedules a three-month follow up appointment. Because of the language gap, the family did not schedule necessary, pre-follow up testing because they thought all testing was to be done during the next visit.
According to Teresa Amado, senior interpreter with Boston Children’s Interpreter Services, this is a common scenario — and one that shines a critical light on the need for a medical interpreter during appointments. …Read More