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JGIM: studies show importance of language services on disparities, quality of care
Date:11/1/2007

Princeton, N.J. New studies published today in a special supplement to the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) examine the consequences of language barriers for patients who speak little, if any, English and the impact of the absence of language services in health care settings. The studies overall report that measurable disparities in quality of care result when patients and providers do not speak the same language.

  • Hospitalized Patients Who Speak Little English May Be Less Likely to Give Consent Before Undergoing Invasive Procedures

  • Hispanics Who Speak Little English Are Less Likely to Receive All Recommended Health Care Services

  • One in Five Staff Interpreters Do Not Have Competent Bilingual Skills

  • 17th U.S. Surgeon General Carmona Joins Dialogue

The supplement is sponsored by Hablamos Juntos, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as part of its efforts to improve the quality of care for all Americans by addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Nearly one in five people in the United States now speak a language other than English at home. And while many can comfortably speak English when needed, experts estimate some 20 million people in America about one in every 15 people in the U.S. speak and understand little, if any English. This means that health care providers are increasingly facing the challenge of how to communicate efficiently and effectively with patients who have limited English proficiency (LEP). Hablamos Juntos, administered by UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research, seeks to develop practical and affordable solutions to increase the availability and quality of language services, interpretation, translation and signage.

> Study: Hospitalized Patients Who Speak Little English Are Less Likely to Have Documentation of Informed Consent Prior to Invasive Procedures


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