UCI News

Language barriers adversely impact healthcare quality

For the millions of Americans whose native tongue isn't English, language remains a critical road block to quality healthcare, according…

November 14, 2007

For the millions of Americans whose native tongue isn’t English, language remains a critical road block to quality healthcare, according to researchers in UC Irvine’s Center for Health Policy Research. They found that language barriers between patients and healthcare providers result in longer hospital stays, more medical errors and lower patient satisfaction. In a nationwide study of more than 2,700 patients who have limited English-language proficiency, Dr. Quyen Ngo-Metzger (pictured) and colleagues found that these language barriers were associated with less health education, poorer doctor-patient interactions and lower patient satisfaction. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, stresses the importance of training bilingual healthcare providers to meet the needs of the growing multicultural U.S. population.