Physicians Say Language, Cultural Barriers Hurting Patient Care
Nearly half of U.S. physicians say language or cultural barriers are obstacles to providing high-quality patient care, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change, HealthLeaders Media reports.
About 48 percent of all physicians reported difficulties communicating with patients due to language or cultural barriers, and said they considered it a problem that affects their ability to provide high-quality care. At least 97 percent said they have at least some non-English speaking patients.
Yet less than 5 percent viewed these barriers as problems that could result in disparities in care among minorties:
The study, HSC Issue Brief–Modest and Uneven: Physician Efforts to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities, shows there is a great need to address the problem of language and cultural communication as the U.S. becomes more diversified, says James D. Reschovsky, PhD, senior health researcher for the Center for Studying Health System Change and co-author of the study. The study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes responses from more than 4,700 physicians and the response rate was 62%.
The issue takes on more urgency in the U.S. because an ever-increasing number of people speak a language other than English at home, according to Reschovsky.
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