207674 Assessing the efficacy of the LanguageMate System: A healthcare-focused language study software program for improving patient-provider communication

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:45 PM

Zarya Alexandra Rubin, MD, FRCPC , Director of Research, LanguageMate, New York, NY
Christa A. DeHuff, MS , LanguageMate, New York, NY
Ted J. Strauss, BS , LanguageMate, New York, NY
William Z. Tan, BS , Principal Investigator, LanguageMate, New York, NY
INTRODUCTION: As the U.S. becomes increasingly ethnically and linguistically diverse, healthcare institutions face a pressing need to provide language-concordant care to non-English speaking patients. Given the chronic shortage of qualified medical interpreters, a comprehensive solution must address the need for a culturally and linguistically competent healthcare workforce. To meet this demand, a web-based, healthcare-focused language study program was developed to enable users to attain proficiency in a target language, develop cultural awareness, and improve quality of service for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). Using our proprietary Authentic Context Tutoring methodology, students acquire relevant vocabulary and grammar, and reinforce and apply this knowledge through interactive, engaging learning activities. During a Phase I study, a three-lesson medical Portuguese prototype was administered to healthcare providers (N=24) with no prior exposure to Portuguese; their ability to acquire sufficient skills to conduct a basic pain assessment in Portuguese was then assessed. Average post-test score = 86% (Written comprehension: 89.7%; Listening comprehension: 94.1%; Oral/speaking competency: 72.7%); 100% of participants stated they would use the software to learn a foreign language; 96% believed hospitals should make the application available to staff, and the program was ranked the most desirable method for obtaining CME credits. The present project focuses on Medical Spanish.

METHODS: A Phase II study is currently underway to evaluate the efficacy of a 3-level, 36-lesson, 10-month medical Spanish e-learning course. Approximately 80 medical students and residents with limited knowledge of Spanish will be recruited from teaching hospitals to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Knowledge acquisition will be assessed via pre-/post- Proficiency Tests; participants will complete mid- and end-level User Satisfaction Questionnaires, and partake in end-level discussion groups, in order to determine adoption and target areas for improvement. In addition, a subset of participants will undergo Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) testing, which will provide an in-depth analysis of participants' Spanish language competency and clinical skills in an authentic context. Study activities are set to commence in Spring 2009.

RESULTS/DISCUSSION: Preliminary results from our Phase II study will be available for presentation at the time of the meeting.

CONCLUSION:This interactive software promises to be an effective means for health-focused language instruction, and can play a positive role in improving the quality of care for LEP patients. Results of this research will augment knowledge in e-learning, second language acquisition, and patient-provider communication. Funding for this research is provided by NIH/NCMHD.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the impact of language on the quality of medical care and patient-provider interactions. Discuss the potential for an e-learning language study program to impact healthcare providers' second language acquisition and cultural awareness. Define future directions for technology-based interventions aimed at improving health communication between patients and providers.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of Research on this project and have been involved in all aspects of curriculum design, study protocol and implementation.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
LanguageMate Public Health Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.