Patients with Limited English More Likely to Experience Medical Errors

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<p>A lack of good communication between doctors and their patients can lead to a host of problems: mistrust, dissatisfaction with care, and even medical errors. For the more than 20 million people in the United States with limited English proficiency (LEP), these communication problems can be much more serious.<br><br>In a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=27712&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D472804%26%23doc472804">Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> in the <em>International Journal for Quality in Health Care,</em> researchers with the Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) found that LEP hospital patients are more likely than their English-speaking counterparts to experience adverse events that result in harm--and the severity of that harm is often greater.<br><br>The availability of language translation services, provided by trained medical interpreters, is crucial for ensuring the safety and quality of care that LEP patients receive, the authors say. They also recommend that hospitals indicate patients' native language and communication needs in their record and document the language services provided during medical encounters.</p>