Journal of the American Heart Association 2017 09 216(9) pii e006175
The inability to communicate effectively in a common language can jeopardize clinicians’ efforts to provide quality patient care. Professional medical interpreters (PMIs) can help provide linguistically appropriate health care, in particular for the >25 million Americans who identify speaking English less than very well. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between use of PMIs and quality of acute ischemic stroke care received by patients who preferred to have their medical care in languages other than English.
METHODS AND RESULTS
We analyzed data from 259 non-English-preferring acute ischemic stroke patients who participated in the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program at our hospital from January 1, 2003, to April 30, 2014. We used descriptive statistics and logistic regression models to examine associations between involvement of PMIs and patients’ receipt of defect-free stroke care. A total of 147 of 259 (57%) non-English-preferring patients received PMI services during their hospital stays. Multivariable analyses adjusting for other socioeconomic factors showed that acute ischemic stroke patients who did not receive PMIs had lower odds of receiving defect-free stroke care (odds ratio: 0.52; P=0.04).
Our findings suggest that PMIs may influence the quality of acute ischemic stroke care.