An Evidence Based Practice Project to overcome Language and Communication Barriers

The ability to communicate effectively with healthcare providers in various healthcare settings is one of the greatest healthcare disparities among ethnic and racial minorities in the United States and globally. A literature search was conducted using a computerized database called CINAHL. Limiting the search to Nursing-Language Barriers-Communication and setting a time frame for publications within the past 5 years resulted in six published articles relevant to the subject. Overall, these studies indicate that language barriers are associated with more emergency visits, longer stays per clinic visit, less understanding of medication regimen and side effects, less clinical visits when indicated, patients feeling uncomfortable and lower patient satisfaction with health services. The studies also indicate that many facilities use “family” or “friend” interpretation services, which can ultimately lead to miscommunication, a knowledge deficit regarding care, and inadequate translation leading to medical errors and insufficient patient education. Improving communication between patients and providers can occur with the use of technological advancements like “stratus” or other virtual medical interpreters. These devices are transitioning into more medical settings as they allow for on-the-spot interpretation services of multiple languages at the push of a button. Using video remote interpreters (VRI) is an innovative method for closing the gap between communication disparities and healthcare. This project will present the evidence and propose incorporation of these technological advancements in a patient care setting using an evidence based practice model.