Graduation Year


Embargo Period


Document Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)


Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

First Advisor

Adolfo Prettelt, MD


Patient Care, Medical Research


Introduction: The ability to effectively and efficiently communicate with patients is a fundamental aspect of medical care. However, the ability to communicate with a patient who does not speak English creates an unfortunate roadblock for providers. Currently, a provider must either be bilingual, utilize a live translator or call into a translation service in order to communicate with low-English proficient patients.

Methods: This process improvement cross-sectional investigation looked to elucidate the similarities and differences among the three modes of translation from the patient’s perspective. Seventy-five low- English proficient patients in the outpatient Internal Medicine and Family Medicine settings were issued surveys that examined eleven domains of the patient-physician relationship when these modes of translation were utilized. Utilizing a likert scale, the eleven domains analyzed were: physician understanding, patient question understanding, patient comfort, patient honesty, patient connection, patient treatment understanding, patient question asking, patient trust, patient compliance, patient return and patient recommendation.

Results: Overall, statistical analyses showed that bilingual physicians have statistically significant higher likert scores across many domains when compared to live translators or translation services. When the study population was grouped by age (<45 vs >45) or gender (male vs female), minimal statistically significant differences were found between the two groups.

Discussion: The analysis in this investigation shows that overall patient satisfaction, when taken as the sum of eleven domains, is most likely highest when physicians are bilingual.

Conclusion: This finding suggests that in order to maximize patient outcomes and, subsequently, physician compensation in today’s healthcare model, physicians should be or at least provided the means to become poly-lingual.



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