Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UCSF Study Finds English Proficiency A Major Hurdle In Patient Comprehension

Date:
August 17, 2005
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Limited efficiency with the English language is a barrier to medical comprehension and increases the risk of adverse medication reactions, according to a recent study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

Limited efficiency with the English language is a barrier to medicalcomprehension and increases the risk of adverse medication reactions,according to a recent study led by researchers at the University ofCalifornia, San Francisco.

Related Articles


The UCSF study, which appears in the online version of the Journalof General Internal Medicine on August 1, is the first multilingual,population-based study to focus on the impact of English proficiencyand physician language on medical comprehension.

"Looking at a broad population of respondents with variousnative languages, we found English proficiency is an independent riskfactor for difficulty in understanding medical situations and reportingproblems with medications," said lead author Elisabeth Wilson, MD, MPH,research fellow and clinical instructor of medicine at UCSF.

According to the study, respondents who were limited in theirEnglish proficiency were significantly more likely to report problemsunderstanding a medical situation, experience confusion about how touse medication, have trouble understanding labels on medications, andsuffer a bad reaction to medication due to problems understandinginstructions.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey with 1200 Californiansin 11 different languages -- Russian, Spanish, Cambodian, Vietnamese,Farsi, Armenian, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean, Tagalog(Philippines) and Mien (Hmong). Of the respondents, 49 percent weredefined as being limited English-proficient (LEP). Respondents weredefined as LEP if they responded "not well" or "not at all" to thequestion, "How well do you understand English?" The comprehensivesurvey included 48 questions ranging from health care access tosatisfaction to comprehension.

Data also revealed more than two-thirds (69 percent) of LEPrespondents reported that their physicians spoke their native language,yet they were still significantly more likely to report problemsunderstanding a medical situation than English-proficient respondents.

Overall, LEP respondents who had access to a languageconcordant physician had a much improved understanding of their medicalsituation. Fifty-seven percent of LEP respondents with a languagediscordant physician reported comprehension problems compared with only44 percent of those with language concordant physicians.

"This study highlights the difficulties persons with limitedEnglish skills face when navigating the complex U.S. health caresystem," Wilson said. "Our health care systems should do more toimprove cultural and linguistic competence between patient andphysician."

In addition to poorer comprehension, LEP respondents weresignificantly more likely than English proficient respondents to beelderly, female, less educated, uninsured and have lower income. "Inpast studies, these factors also have shown to increase the risk forhealth disparities in population groups," added Wilson. "Thecombination of these factors and limited English proficiency helpexplain the high prevalence of comprehension problems in this country."

###

The study was funded by the California Endowment and a grant underthe Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research Program by theNational Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "UCSF Study Finds English Proficiency A Major Hurdle In Patient Comprehension." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814170923.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2005, August 17). UCSF Study Finds English Proficiency A Major Hurdle In Patient Comprehension. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814170923.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "UCSF Study Finds English Proficiency A Major Hurdle In Patient Comprehension." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814170923.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins