Friday, February 19, 2010

Language and Cultural Barriers in Healthcare

A new study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, confirms the need to address language and culture in healthcare.
Nearly half of U.S. physicians say language or other cultural barriers are obstacles to providing high-quality patient care, according to a study released by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Forty-eight percent of all physicians in 2008 reported difficulties communicating with patients because of language or cultural barriers, and said they considered the situation at least a minor problem affecting their ability to provide high-quality care. Less than 5%, however, viewed those barriers as a major problem that could result in a disparity of care across ethnic and racial populations, the study reported. Efforts to overcome the obstacles were
considered modest or uneven. [
Healthcare providers have legal obligations to provide needed interpreter services, at least for patients with public insurance. However, physicians in solo and group practices were less likely to adopt measures to address disparities than those in institutional practices, such as hospitals, health insurers, and medical schools, according to the study.


Jvala said...

Thanks for posting! Language access is an incredibly important issue when thinking about needs of immigrants in the US/Canada and has been constantly on my mind as I work with the Punjabi community in NYC.
Unfortunately, there are few resources available to provide people at the moment. I look forward to hearing more and would love to discuss further with you.

S Kaur said...

Jvala, Thanks for your comment! In what capacity do you work with these immigrants. We should definitely talk more...

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