Use of Untrained Interpreters Puts Limited English Speaking Patients at Risk for Harm

September 19, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​As many as 1 in 10 U.S. patients is at risk for adverse events because of language barriers, states an article published August 30, 2014, in Modern Healthcare. According the article, relying on family members or bilingual staff who are not certified as medical interpreters underestimates the skill set needed to safely translate medical information and could lead to medication errors, wrong procedures, and avoidable hospital readmissions. The article recommends focusing interpreter services on high-risk encounters such as those involving medication reconciliation, discharge, informed consent, and surgery.

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