Texas university to study how eliminating language barriers can improve pediatric patient outcomes

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Amarillo is setting out on a study that will look at the effects of eliminating language barriers on pediatric patient outcomes.

Research will be led by Tetyana Vasylyeva, MD, PhD, and is part of a larger project directed by Boston Children's Hospital. 

Dr. Vasylyeva noted in a Jan. 27 press release that "effective communication can reduce medical errors."  

The research will be broken into three categories: 

  1. A control group with current communication practices.
  2. A group with the addition of a telephone interpreter.
  3. A group with the addition of an in-person interpreter.

"Of course, there very often is an interpreter available on the phone, but sometimes they're not well-trained in medicine," Dr. Vasylyeva said in the press release. "And sometimes the patient or family is just ashamed or embarrassed to ask more questions."

She expects patient feedback to be a key driver of the results.

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