Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Reducing Clinical Errors in Cancer Education: Interpreter Training

  • 331 Accesses

  • 13 Citations

Abstract

Over 22 million US residents are limited English proficient. Hospitals often call upon untrained persons to interpret. There is a dearth of information on errors in medical interpreting and their impact upon cancer education. We conducted an experimental study of standardized medical interpreting training on interpreting errors in the cancer encounter, by comparing trained and untrained interpreters, using identical content. Nine interpreted cancer encounters with identical scripts were recorded and transcribed. Using an “Error Analysis Tool,” a bilingual linguist and two bilingual medical providers scored the transcripts for interpreting errors made, including their potential clinical severity. Trained interpreters were 70% less likely to have clinical errors than untrained ones. The likelihood of medical error increased with the length of the concept and decreased with the precision of vocabulary. It is important to train medical interpreters and to ensure their availability in cancer education encounters to minimize the risk for errors.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. 1.

    Clegg LX, Li FP, Hankey BF, Chu K, Edwards BK (2002) Cancer survival among US whites and minorities: a SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) Program population-based study. Arch Intern Med 162(17):1985–1993

  2. 2.

    Timmins CL (2002) The impact of language barriers on the health care of Latinos in the United States: a review of the literature and guidelines for practice. J Midwifery Women’s Health 47(2):80–96

  3. 3.

    U.S. Census Bureau. Language use and English-speaking ability: 2000, Census 2000 Brief, October 2003

  4. 4.

    Flores G, Abreu M, Olivar MA, Kastner B (1988) Access barriers to health care for Latino children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 152(11):1119–1125

  5. 5.

    Woloshin S, Bickell N, Schwartz L, Gany F, Welch G (1995) Language barriers in medicine in the United States. JAMA 273(9):724–728

  6. 6.

    Hampers LC, McNulty JE (2002) Professional interpreters and bilingual physicians in a pediatric emergency department: effect on resource utilization. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 156:1108–1113

  7. 7.

    Baker D, Parker R, Williams M, Coates W, Pitkin K (1996) Use and effectiveness of interpreters in an emergency department. JAMA 275:783–788

  8. 8.

    Crane J (1997) Patient comprehension of doctor-patient communication on discharge from the emergency department. J Emerg Med 15(1):1–7

  9. 9.

    David RA, Rhee M (1998) the impact of language as a barrier to effective health care in an underserved urban Hispanic community. Mt Sinai J Med 65(5&6):393–397

  10. 10.

    Maguire P, Faulkner A (1988) How to improve the counseling skills of doctors and nurses. Br J Med 297:847

  11. 11.

    Fallowfield LJ (1995) Communication skills of oncologists. FORUM Trends Exp Clin Med 5:99–1031

  12. 12.

    Roter DL, Hall JA, Katz NR (1987) Relations between physicians behaviours and analogue patients satisfaction recall and impressions. Med Care 25:437

  13. 13.

    Bertakis KD, Roter D, Putnam SM (1991) The relationship of physician medical interview style to patient satisfaction. J Fam Pract 32:175

  14. 14.

    Kaplan SH, Greenfield S, Ware JE (1989) Assessing the effects of physician–patient interactions on the outcome of chronic disease. Med Care 27:S110–S127

  15. 15.

    Fallowfield LF, Hall A, Maguire GP, Baum M (1990) Psychological outcomes of different treatment policies in women with early breast cancer outside a clinical trial. Br Med J 301:575

  16. 16.

    Department of Health (2000) The NHS cancer plan. Department of Health, London

  17. 17.

    Augry F, Ravaud P, Lopez I et al (1998) Erreurs de prescription des medicaments cytotoxiques: etude prospective de 5, 000 ordonnances [Order errors in antineoplastic therapy: prospective study with 5,000 prescriptions]. J Pharm Clin 17:20–24

  18. 18.

    Ignoffo RJ (1996) Preventing chemotherapy errors. Am J Health Syst Pharm 53:733

  19. 19.

    Cohen MR (1998) Institute for safe medication practices. Current issues in medication safety: health insight's meeting on adverse drug events: reducing medication errors in Utah. Health Insight, Salt Lake City

  20. 20.

    Ebden P, Carey OJ, Bhatt A, Harrison B (1988) The bilingual consultation. Lancet 1(8581):347

  21. 21.

    Riddick SH (1998) Improving access for limited English-speaking consumers: a review of strategies in health care settings. J Health Care Poor Underserved 9(suppl 1):S40–S61

  22. 22.

    Betancourt JR, Jacobs EA (2000) Language barriers to informed consent and confidentiality: the impact on women’s health. J Am Med Wom Assoc 55(5):294–295

  23. 23.

    A National Public Health and Hospital Report (1995) Interpretation and translation services in health care: a survey of US public and private teaching hospitals

  24. 24.

    Le CN (2005) Population statistics & demographics Asian-nation: the landscape of Asian America. Available at: http://www.asian-nation.org/population.shtml. Accessed on August 9, 2006

  25. 25.

    Ku L, Flores G (2005) Pay now or pay later: providing interpreter services in health care. Health Aff 24(2):435–444

Download references

Acknowledgement

This work was supported by the Commonwealth Fund, the California Endowment, and the Center for Study of Asian American Health, a National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH 5 P60 MD00538).

Author information

Correspondence to Francesca M. Gany.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gany, F.M., Gonzalez, C.J., Basu, G. et al. Reducing Clinical Errors in Cancer Education: Interpreter Training. J Canc Educ 25, 560–564 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-010-0107-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Cancer education
  • Immigrant health
  • Medical interpreting
  • Cancer care
  • Language barrier