Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 211–217

System-Level Factors Affecting Clinicians’ Perceptions and Use of Interpreter Services in California Public Hospitals

Authors

  • Danielle Baurer
    • Center for Healthcare Equity, Institute for Healthcare StudiesNorthwestern University
  • Julie C. Yonek
    • Center for Healthcare Equity, Institute for Healthcare StudiesNorthwestern University
  • Alan B. Cohen
    • Health Policy InstituteBoston University
  • Joseph D. Restuccia
    • School of ManagementBoston University
    • Center for Organizational Leadership Management Research (COLMR)Boston VA Healthcare System
    • Center for Healthcare Equity, Institute for Healthcare StudiesNorthwestern University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10903-012-9722-3

Cite this article as:
Baurer, D., Yonek, J.C., Cohen, A.B. et al. J Immigrant Minority Health (2014) 16: 211. doi:10.1007/s10903-012-9722-3

Abstract

Professional language interpreters are skilled in the nuances of interpretation and are less likely to make errors of clinical significance but clinicians infrequently use them. We examine system-level factors that may shape clinicians’ perceptions and use of professional interpreters. Exploratory qualitative study in 12 California public hospitals. We conducted in-person key informant interviews with hospital leadership, clinical staff, and administrative staff. Five emergent themes highlight system-level factors that may influence clinicians’ perceptions and use of professional interpreters in hospitals: (1) organization-wide commitment to improving language access for LEP patients; (2) organizational investment in remote interpreter technologies to increase language access; (3)training clinicians on how to access and work with interpreters; (4) hospital supports the training and certification of bilingual staff to serve as interpreters to expand in-person, on-site, interpreter capacity; and (5)organizational investment in readily accessible telephonic interpretation. Multiple system-level factors underlie clinicians’ use of professional interpreters. Interventions that target these factors could improve language services for patients with limited English proficiency.

Keywords

Language services Hospitals Clinicians

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012