System-Level Factors Affecting Clinicians’ Perceptions and Use of Interpreter Services in California Public Hospitals
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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.
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- System-Level Factors Affecting Clinicians’ Perceptions and Use of Interpreter Services in California Public Hospitals
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- Author Affiliations
- 1. Center for Healthcare Equity, Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA
- 2. Health Policy Institute, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
- 3. School of Management, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
- 4. Center for Organizational Leadership Management Research (COLMR), Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA