The number of persons in the United States who have a primary language
other than English has been steadily increasing for decades. The latest census information reveals that citizens with limited English proficiency (LEP) represent approximately 16% of the population. The inability to effectively communicate creates stark challenges in the delivery and receipt of health care. Language
discordance in the healthcare setting has been firmly established as a source for health disparities
among LEP patients and families. Poorer health outcomes are seen across the healthcare setting for LEP patients and children of LEP parents.
Scientific literature review, scholarly databases, Internet sites.
There are various systems and methods that can be implemented in order to help improve health outcomes for LEP patients. There are benefits and challenges to each of the methods available for LEP patients and their providers. Improvements must be made on numerous levels including in clinical settings, in training curricula, and system wide.
Implications for practice:
The risks associated with decreased quality of communication between patient and provider merit an earnest consideration of the methods available for LEP patients and implementing some of these services for those patients.