Racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. experience higher incidence of and greater morbidity from chronic disease. Limited English proficiency (LEP) is a known contributor to these health disparities. The Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services promote health equity through the incorporation of professional interpreter services. While such services have been shown to improve quality of care, limited data exist on patient perspectives regarding these services. Better understanding patient experiences with telephone interpreter services (TIS), an increasingly used modality for professional interpretation, could elucidate ways of improving care for this population. This study explored Spanish-speaking patient experiences with TIS at an urban community clinic. Qualitative data collected via focus groups was analyzed using content analysis and grounded theory methods. Our findings suggest that TIS are generally well accepted by Spanish-speaking LEP patients. Limited relationship development with providers and physician attitudes toward TIS were among reported barriers to the use of these services.


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pp. 149-162
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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