, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 602-607
Date: 24 Sep 2011

Comparison of Throughput Times for Limited English Proficiency Patient Visits in the Emergency Department Between Different Interpreter Modalities

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Appropriate interpretation is imperative for families with limited English proficiency (LEP). We compared throughput times for ED visits involving families with LEP based on type of interpretation provided: in-person interpretation, remote telephonic interpretation or bilingual providers. This study is a secondary analysis of a prospective study of caretaker satisfaction with different interpreter modalities. We queried the medical record for event time stamps, clinical factors and disposition. The in-person cohort (116 min) had a significantly shorter total throughput time than telephonic (141 min) and bilingual provider (153 min) cohorts (P < 0.0001), due to a difference in time seen by provider to disposition. Time seen by provider to disposition remained statistically significantly shorter for the in-person cohort when compared to telephonic interpretation when controlling for potential confounders such as admission rate (P = 0.006). In-person interpretation significantly decreased ED throughput times and may be an important consideration in the choice of interpreter modality.