The New York Times “Doctor and Patient” blog includes an interview with Alicia Fernandez, MD, in the UCSF Department of General Internal Medicine, on cross-cultural communications in hospitals. The April 23, 2009, blog by Dr. Pauline W. Chen focuses on language barriers in hospitals and doctors who “get by” on their own often limited foreign language skills in communicating with non-English-speaking patients, rather than taking the time to call an interpreter.

The blog includes comments from Fernandez regarding a study in the December 17, 2008 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, on which Fernandez was senior author, examining the use—or nonuse—of interpreters by residents in the teaching hospitals at UCSF and Yale University. Fernandez discusses findings that even with professional interpreting services available at all times, many resident physicians do not avail themselves of the service on a consistent basis.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/health/23chen.html

Link to Journal of General Internal Medicine article: http://www.springerlink.com/content/g935m81354731116

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