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Real Talk: Reimagining the Role of Medical Interpreters

By Alexander Green, MD, MPH on 7/3/18 9:45 AM

This content was originally presented as part of our live learning event, "Expanding the Role of Interpreters in a Value-Based System," by Dr. Alexander Green. View the recorded event here.

As a primary care physician, I take care of a large Spanish-speaking population, among other culturally and socioeconomically diverse patients. I’m fluent in medical Spanish and communicate directly with my Spanish-speaking patients. But regardless of whether I’m speaking Spanish or working with a medical interpreter, visits with limited English proficiency (LEP) patients always leave me with a worried feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m keenly aware that most healthcare takes place outside of the doctor’s office, and this is where LEP patients fall through the cracks. I wonder, “Did Mrs. Ramirez really understand how to prep for her colonoscopy next week?” or “Was Mr. Luan actually convinced that he needs to take the medication I prescribed for his diabetes?”

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Best Practices for Working with Medical Interpreters

By Megan Bedford on 6/14/18 9:44 AM

Address the patient, speak clearly, avoid jargon, and check for comprehension

If you’re a healthcare provider who works with some of the 25 million limited English proficient (LEP) patients in the U.S., you know how important interpretation is to successful patient outcomes. Poor communication increases the chance of medical errors with any patient, and LEP individuals are especially vulnerable in this regard.

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5 Tips for Working with Interpreters

By Kate Chai-Onn on 8/2/17 2:30 PM

Effective communication is essential to the healthcare interactions at all levels. When patients have limited-English proficiency (LEP), or speak different languages, it is nearly impossible for clear communication to take place. Interpreters provide an essential bridge to effective communication with LEP patients. However, simply having a qualified interpreter in the room (or on the phone) will not automatically guarantee success. Make the most of interpreter-mediated patient interactions with our five tips for working with interpreters.

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What is Health Literacy?

By Megan Bedford on 8/2/17 2:29 PM

Health literacy describes one's ability to obtain and understand the medical information needed to make informed healthcare decisions. This includes the ability to understand medical explanations of symptoms and illnesses; follow directions for medications, tests, and procedures; and ask relevant questions.

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