Cultural Differences Blog

  • Evaluate the language needs of the population you are serving at your clinical facility.

I serve in a low-income clinic where most of the patients belong to the Hispanic and Punjabi (East Indian) culture. They have very limited understanding of English and barely able to communicate in this language. We use Spanish speaking interpreter throughout the appointment. I speak three languages English, Punjabi and Hindi so I            don’t have a problem in communication with Indian patients.

  • Determine if resources available for translation allow patients with language barriers to experiencing the same level of care as English-speaking patients.

We have a Spanish-speaking interpreter in the clinic but I realized sometimes it is hard to communicate properly to address all the needs os patient’s visit as it involves lots of distractions. We recently start using a video call in each patient room for interpretation but to me, it is worse than using the in- clinic interpreter, the voice quality is not clear when the whole family is sitting in the room.

  • Identify the benefits and the shortfalls of the systems in place.

Benefits of having in clinic interpreter are: you can interact with your patients more actively then video call for a translator. The staff is medically trained so they can do the translation of medical terminology effectively.

  • Recommend ways the system could better serve the patient base in the community your clinical site serves.

Having well-trained medical staff that is available all the time for translation is the solution of communication problem for people who are not able to speak English. Providers who speak dual languages are more able to gain the trust of their non- English speaking patients.

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