From Admission to Discharge: Patterns of Interpreter Use among Resident Physicians Caring for Hospitalized Patients with Limited English Proficiency
- Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 25, Number 4, November 2014
- pp. 1784-1798
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
Resident physicians’ use of professional interpreters drives communication with hospitalized patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). We surveyed residents from three specialties across two hospitals affiliated with one academic medical institution about their communication with their last hospitalized LEP patient. Among 149 respondents (73% response rate), 71% reported using professional interpreters for fewer than 60% of hospital encounters. Most (91%) perceived their quality of communication with hospitalized LEP patients as worse than with English-speaking patients. Professional interpreter use varied substantially by resident and by hospital encounter, with more reporting use of ad hoc interpreters, their own language skills, or not talking to the patient due to time constraints during pre-rounds (39%), team rounds (49%), or check-ins (40%) than during procedural consents (9%) or family meetings (17%). The reported variation suggests targets for quality improvement efforts and the need for clear enforceable guidelines on resident communication with hospitalized LEP patients.