Communication methods between outpatients with limited-English proficiency and ancillary staff: LASI study results Journal Article


Authors: Kornbluth, L.; Kaplan, C. P.; Diamond, L.; Karliner, L. S.
Article Title: Communication methods between outpatients with limited-English proficiency and ancillary staff: LASI study results
Abstract: Objective: Describe communication methods between primary care ancillary staff, including front desk administrative staff and medical assistants (MAs), and patients with limited-English proficiency (LEP). Methods: Patients with LEP completed a telephone survey after a primary care visit including questions about communication with ancillary staff (n = 1029). To inform practice improvements and lend qualitative perspective to these quantitative data, we subsequently conducted semi-structured interviews with ancillary staff and physicians. Results: Professional interpreter use was minimal with ancillary staff (<4%). Among patients who did not use their preferred language with bilingual staff, about one-third reported using English to communicate, despite most (≥ 80%) speaking English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all.’ In semi-structured interviews, ancillary staff felt basic English sufficient for most patient communication. However, physicians reported taking on extra visit tasks to compensate for the communication barriers between ancillary staff and patients with LEP. Conclusions: Use of professional interpretation by front desk staff and MAs was minimal. This led many patients with LEP to ‘get by’ with limited English when communicating with ancillary staff, in turn increasing burden on the physician visit. Practice implications: Future interventions should focus on increasing use of professional interpretation by outpatient ancillary staff when communicating with LEP patients. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: adult; major clinical study; outpatient; primary medical care; speech; primary care; semi structured interview; ancillary staff; language barriers; limited english proficiency; human; male; female; article; telephone interview; communication barrier
Journal Title: Patient Education and Counseling
Volume: 105
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0738-3991
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd.  
Date Published: 2022-01-01
Start Page: 246
End Page: 249
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.05.001
PUBMED: 34023171
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: Article -- Export Date: 3 January 2022 -- Source: Scopus
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  1. Lisa Cari Diamond
    46 Diamond