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Journal of Hospital Medicine


The 25 million people in the United States with limited English proficiency (LEP), which is defined as speaking English less than “very well”, are at increased risk for healthcare disparities that result in preventable harm and poor patient experiences compared with English-proficient patients. The use of trained professional interpreters is associated with improved communication, healthcare outcomes, safety, and experiences for LEP patients. However, underuse of professional interpreters remains common. Healthcare staff frequently use family members, friends, or minor children as interpreters or try to “get by” with the patient’s limited English skills or staff’s limited non-English skills. These practices regularly compromise patient safety and quality for LEP patients and their families.


Lion, K. C., & DeCamp, L. R. (2019). Inpatient Language Barriers: An Old Problem in Need of Novel Solutions. Journal of hospital medicine, 14(10), 640.


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