Online Program

Needs for Medical Interpreters for Limited Japanese Proficiency Patients in Japan: A Quantitative Analysis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rie Ogasawara, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Background.With increase of limited Japanese proficiency (LJP) patients, the quality of medical services for LJP patients has been emphasized in Japan. However, medical interpreters (MIs) are still working in volunteer basis in most cases. There is no legal system to support MIs.

Objectives. We identified needs for MIs in the hospital with exploring how hospital staff providing services to LJP patients in Japan.

Method. Over a 3-week period in August 2014, the questionnaire was distributed to staff working in Osaka University Hospital in Japan.

Result.1,531 responded including 334 physicians, 759 nurses, 72 pharmacists, 123 technicians and 243 non-medicals. 65.8% had experience of providing services directly to LJP patients on their duty. Among them, 9.6% had experiences of being misunderstood or patients’ lack of adherence to the treatment because of communication barrier. MIs service was most needed by every groups to provide safe quality care to LJP patients. Chinese MIs was most needed by physicians, whereas English MIs was the first priority for the other groups.

Conclusions. MIs are essential to provide safe quality care to LJP patients and should be certified as a profession. Osaka University has started MI educational program since 2007 and invites 2 experts in MI training from the US every year. Lack of certification system of MIs and policy to support LJP patients are now big issues. Such policy and regulation as Executive Order 13166 in the US is required in Japan.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify needs for medical interpreters when providing services to limited Japanese proficiency patients in the medical settings in Japan

Keyword(s): Communication, Quality Improvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the secretary general of the nation-wide organization, which aims to improve quality of health care for limited Japanese proficiency patients and provides a platform for discussing issues concerned with medical interpreters among medical providers, interpreters, academia and governmental agencies. Among my research interests has been the development of strategies for bridging the communication gap between medical providers and patients to improve quality of care in multicultural societies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.