Monthly Archives: October 2015

Trained medical interpreters can reduce errors in care for patients with limited English proficiency

Via Wolters Kluwer Health

October 20, 2015 – For patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), errors in medical interpretation are common–especially when the interpreter is a family member or other untrained person, reports a study in the October issue of Medical Care. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

The error rate is cut in half when trained medical interpreters are used, whether in person or by video conference, according to the research by Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable and colleagues of University of California, San Francisco. They conclude, “Full deployment of professional interpretation capacity for LEP patients is a quality of care issue whose time has come.” (Dr. Pérez-Stable is now Director of the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Bethesda, Md.)

Higher Accuracy in Visits with Professional Medical Interpreters

The study assessed the accuracy of medical interpretation during 32 primary care visits with Spanish-speaking Latino patients at a public hospital clinic. Visits were audiotaped and transcribed, and analyzed to determine the rate of errors in medical interpretation–including errors likely to have a “clinically significant” impact on patient care.

The analysis focused on differences in error rates for visits with professional interpreters, either in-person or via video conference; or with untrained “ad hoc” interpreters, usually a member of the patient’s family. Rates of clinically significant errors were also compared between groups.

To read more of this article click here.

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