Cover: Is Primary Care Patient Experience Associated with Provider-Patient Language Concordance and Use of Interpreters for Spanish-preferring Patients

Is Primary Care Patient Experience Associated with Provider-Patient Language Concordance and Use of Interpreters for Spanish-preferring Patients

A Systematic Literature Review

Published in: Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2024). DOI: 10.1007/s40615-024-01951-z

Posted on rand.org May 1, 2024

by Denise D. Quigley, Nabeel Qureshi, Zachary Predmore, Yareliz Diaz, Ron D. Hays

Background

Healthcare provided by a bilingual provider or with the assistance of an interpreter improves care quality; however, their associations with patient experience are unknown. We reviewed associations of patient experience with provider-patient language concordance (LC) and use of interpreters for Spanish-preferring patients.

Method

We reviewed articles from academic databases 2005-2023 following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and Joanna Briggs Institute Checklists to rate study quality. We reviewed 217 (of 2193) articles, yielding 17 for inclusion.

Results

Of the 17 included articles, most articles focused on primary (n = 6 studies) or pediatric care (n = 5). All were cross-sectional, collecting data by self-administered surveys (n = 7) or interviews (n = 4). Most assessed the relationship between LC or interpreter use and patient experience by cross-sectional associations (n = 13). Two compared subgroups, and two provided descriptive insights into the conversational content (provider-interpreter-patient). None evaluated interventions, so evidence on effective strategies is lacking. LC for Spanish-preferring patients was a mix of null findings (n = 4) and associations with better patient experience (n = 3) (e.g., receiving diet/exercise counseling and better provider communication). Evidence on interpreter use indicated better (n = 2), worse (n = 2), and no association (n = 2) with patient experience. Associations between Spanish-language preference and patient experience were not significant (n = 5) or indicated worse experience (n = 4) (e.g., long waits, problems getting appointments, and not understanding nurses).

Conclusion

LC is associated with better patient experience. Using interpreters is associated with better patient experience but only with high-quality interpreters. Strategies are needed to eliminate disparities and enhance communication for all Spanish-preferring primary care patients, whether with a bilingual provider or an interpreter.

Research conducted by

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