Breaking down language barriers for better healthcare: implementing a specialised translation application in the emergency department to improve care for patients with language barriers.

Valls Peche, Marta
BACKGROUND: The current growth in international mobility is leading to the creation of multicultural and multilingual societies, increasing the frequency of consultations where the doctor and patient do not share a common language. The language barrier prevents the establishment of essential doctor-patient communication, leading to inequity and negatively impacting the healthcare of these new patients. Although several resources are available to bridge the communication gap between professionals and patients who speak different languages, the actual effectiveness and feasibility of their routine implementation in emergency services has not been fully evaluated. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the degree of satisfaction with the communication proved during a medical emergency consultation between non-Catalan and non-Spanish speaking patients and doctors, according to whether or not a specialised language translation assistance application had been used. A secondary objective is to evaluate the satisfaction levels of the doctors conducting these consultations. Finally, we will analyse the time that patients have spent in the emergency department based on the resource use in their visits. DESIGN AND SETTING: It has been designed to be a randomized, open-label, multicentric, prospective, controlled clinical trial. It will be conducted in the two reference emergency centres for the population in Salt, Santa Caterina Hospital and the Centre d'Urgències d’Atenció Primària Güell. PARTICIPANTS: Patients over 18 years of age admitted to the emergency service with a priority level ≥III at triage, with a limited proficiency in Catalan and Spanish themselves and their companions. METHODS: 180 participants will be enrolled using a consecutive sampling method during a seven days recruitment. Patients will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio into two groups: 1) Overcome the language barrier with the use of Universal Doctor Speaker® application; 2) Use others available resources to overcome it. At the end of consultation, participants and professionals will independently fill out a questionnaire, which is focus on the communication establish between them and their perceptions. Major outcome variable will be patients’ satisfaction ​
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