Professionally trained medical interpreters
- Professionally trained staff provide interpretation services for patients with limited English proficiency
- Implemented in both outpatient and inpatient health care settings
- Interpreters receive at least 40 hours of training, including on-the-job training and health care interpretation courses
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Non-native english speakers
Outcomes and impact
- Improved patient-provider communication
- Increased satisfaction for patients with limited English proficiency
- Increased likelihood of patients obtaining preventative screenings, filling prescriptions, and successfully managing conditions
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Ease of access to interpreters is key. Patient-centered programs which allow access to interpreters in multiple ways (bedside telephones, tablets, video conferencing, etc.) can improve overall patient-provider communication.
- Professional interpreters with more hours of training and experience are less likely to make errors in health-specific communication compared to ad-hoc interpreters, impacting health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
- Clinicians cite time constraints (particularly with respect to life saving procedures) and the lack of immediate availability of interpreters as major barriers to use.