Study: Providers Struggle to Meet Communication Needs of Patients with Limited English Proficiency

January 7, 2019 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Communication between providers and patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) remains a concern for federal and state healthcare policy, according to a study published December 3, 2018, in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers measured patient-provider communication based on three metrics, including whether patients reported that their providers explained things in a way they understood, showed respect for what they said, and listened carefully. The authors analyzed a nationally representative sample of patients with at least one office-based medical visit between 2006 and 2015, from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. They found that before 2010, disparities in perceptions of patient-provider communication between LEP and non-LEP patients were increasing, and after 2010, these disparities improved in some areas and stayed the same in others.

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