Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medical errors often result from language barriers

Date:
June 2, 2014
Source:
National Association for Healthcare Quality
Summary:
Despite widespread public and professional attention devoted to medical errors and ways to prevent them, few efforts have focused on addressing a leading cause of errors -- communication problems involving patients with limited proficiency in English. A new study assessed high-risk clinical situations where medical errors are most likely to occur among limited English proficiency patients and when consequences could be severe.

Despite widespread public and professional attention devoted to medical errors and ways to prevent them, few efforts have focused on addressing a leading cause of errors -- communication problems involving patients with limited proficiency in English. A new study reported in the Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ) assessed high-risk clinical situations where medical errors are most likely to occur among limited English proficiency patients and when consequences could be severe.

JHQ is the peer-reviewed publication of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ, www.nahq.org).

In the JHQ study, lead author Melanie Wasserman of Abt Associates and, a healthcare research firm, and colleagues reviewed and evaluated two evidence-based tools from recommendations published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) titled “Improving Patient Safety Systems for Limited English Proficient Patients.”

Three common causes for medical errors attributed to insufficient patient language proficiency were identified from data collected. They are:
• Use of family members, friends or non-qualified staff as interpreters
• Clinicians with basic foreign language skill who try to communicate without using qualified interpreters
• Cultural beliefs and traditions that effect health care delivery.

Situations in which adverse events and medical errors were most likely to occur are medication reconciliation, patient discharge, the informed consent process, emergency department visits and surgical care.

Recommendations were proposed by AHRQ to improve detection of medical errors across diverse populations and prevent high-risk scenarios from becoming safety events. Strategies and systems to prevent medical errors should include strengthening interpreter services, improving coordination of clinical services, providing translated patient education materials, and improving training for healthcare staff for communication, interpreter use, cultural awareness and advocacy.

“We found the tools contained in the AHRQ’s recommendations for improving communication with limited English proficiency patients are implementable and conducive to learning, but further research on the impact of the guide is needed to shed light on its value as a multifaceted intervention,” said Wasserman.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Association for Healthcare Quality. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Melanie Wasserman, Megan R. Renfrew, Alexander R. Green, Lenny Lopez, Aswita Tan-McGrory, Cindy Brach, Joseph R. Betancourt. Identifying and Preventing Medical Errors in Patients With Limited English Proficiency: Key Findings and Tools for the Field. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 2014; 36 (3): 5 DOI: 10.1111/jhq.12065

Cite This Page:

National Association for Healthcare Quality. "Medical errors often result from language barriers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602095116.htm>.
National Association for Healthcare Quality. (2014, June 2). Medical errors often result from language barriers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602095116.htm
National Association for Healthcare Quality. "Medical errors often result from language barriers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602095116.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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