Repost: Improving Patient Satisfaction for LEP Patients

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

For the limited English proficiency (LEP) patient population, patient satisfaction is significantly lower than for English speaking patients. This is primarily due to a lack of meaningful access to healthcare information. Healthcare professionals who are unable to communicate effectively with their patients tend to utilize more diagnostic resources, invasive procedures and overprescribe medications.

On the other hand, effective patient-provider communication can positively influence a patient’s ability to regularly take prescribed medications, self-manage chronic conditions and take recommended preventive health measures.

A Health Care Quality Survey by the Commonwealth fund indicated that one fourth of patients who did not follow through with their healthcare plans found the instructions too difficult to understand. This is just one example of how a lack of effective communication can negatively impact care delivery.

As more hospitals are focusing on improving patient satisfaction, greater emphasis has been placed on the importance of communication in both language concordant and non language concordant patient provider interactions.

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), a national standardized survey to gauge patients’ satisfaction, measures nine key areas pertaining to care delivery. Of the nine key areas measured, five specifically hone in on communication, including doctor communication, nurse communication, staff responsiveness, medication communication and discharge information.

LEP patients who are provided with a qualified medical interpreter, whether they be on-site, over-the-phone or video, consistently experience higher satisfaction with their care. All five of the key communication areas mentioned above can drastically be improved for LEP patients through the use of qualified language services. Qualified medical interpreters break down language barriers between LEP patients and English speaking physicians, providing a comfortable atmosphere of meaningful understanding and trust. This encourages a higher level of active patient engagement and satisfaction with healthcare plans.

LEP patients who are provided with a medically qualified interpreter have been shown to attend more outpatient visits, fill more prescriptions and experience a higher delivery of care. Download our White Paper Improving Your HCAHPS Scores: Driving Patient Satisfaction and Empathetic Care to learn more.

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