Excerpt from an Health Leaders Media article:

A new study reveals that the use of trained language specialists to assist physician-patient communication dramatically improves satisfaction in emergency room settings with non-English speaking patients.

According to Mathematica Policy Research, a non-partisan survey team, “The use of professional interpreter services dramatically increased satisfaction with patient-provider communication during the ED visit, not only for patients, but for all types of providers—including triage nurses, doctors, and discharge nurses.”

Language and cultural barriers between patients and providers are an increasing concern, as evidenced by the decision last year by the Joint Commission to release new standards for patient provider communication, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Several interpreter certification programs are now in development to accredit and/or train would be interpreters to work in healthcare settings.

The idea is that medical interpreters should have proficiency standards much like those required of court reporters, sign language interpreters, and others who convey essential information. All too often, many hospital officials have acknowledged, children are being used to interpret medical care issues on behalf of their parents.