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December 2015

Reducing Language Barriers in Health CareIs Technology the Answer?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 2Department of Population Health, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences, Chicago, Illinois
  • 4Office of Multicultural Affairs, Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(12):1092-1093. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3022

In this issue of JAMA Pediatrics, Lion and colleagues1 describe findings from their well-designed randomized clinical trial of video vs telephonic modes of delivering Spanish-language interpretation in the pediatric emergency department (ED). They found that parents who were randomized to receive video interpretation during their child’s ED stay were more likely to name their child’s diagnosis correctly than those who received telephonic interpretation (74.6% vs 60.0%, respectively) and reported a lower percentage of frequent lapses in interpreter use (1.7%% vs 7.7%, respectively); video interpretation was also more costly by a mean of $30 per patient. No significant differences were found between the 2 modes of interpretation in self-reported quality of interpretation, ED length of stay, or ED charges.

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