Language barriers are known to negatively affect patient satisfaction.
To determine whether a course of instruction in medical Spanish for pediatric emergency department (ED) physicians is associated with an increase in satisfaction for Spanish-speaking-only families.
Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention
Nine pediatric ED physicians completed a 10-week medical Spanish course. Mock clinical scenarios and testing were used to establish an improvement in each physician's ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking-only families. Before (preintervention period) and after (postintervention period) the course, Spanish-speaking-only families cared for by these physicians completed satisfaction questionnaires. Professional interpreters were equally available during both the preintervention and postintervention periods.
Main Outcome Measures
Responses to patient family satisfaction questionnaires.
A total of 143 Spanish-speaking-only families completed satisfaction questionnaires. Preintervention (n = 85) and postintervention (n = 58) cohorts did not differ significantly in age, vital signs, length of ED visit, discharge diagnosis, or self-reported English proficiency. Physicians used a professional interpreter less often in the postintervention period (odds ratio [OR], 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.71). Postintervention families were significantly more likely to strongly agree that "the physician was concerned about my child" (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0-4.2), "made me feel comfortable" (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4), "was respectful" (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4-6.5), and "listened to what I said" (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4-5.9).
A 10-week medical Spanish course for pediatric ED physicians was associated with decreased interpreter use and increased family satisfaction.