Language Proficiency’s Impact on Healthcare Quality for Marginalized Patients: A Physician-Patient Communication Perspective

Lilian Nguyen, Rebecca Kim, Lillian Thai, Ysabella Ballesteros-Barajas, Andrea Romero

Our study investigates language barriers’ impact on patient-physician relationships among marginalized racial and ethnic communities in Southern California. We aim to understand how limited English proficiency affects healthcare access and quality for non-native English speakers. This exploration is crucial in identifying and addressing disparities in healthcare settings, particularly how language barriers intensify existing challenges. We hypothesize that disparities in language proficiency significantly influence the quality of care received by ethnically marginalized patients. Our research highlights ongoing societal norms in America, which disproportionately affect immigrants. We emphasize the necessity of addressing healthcare disparities for ethnically marginalized communities, advocating for enhanced resources and support. Analysis of data patterns reveals the profound impact of limited English proficiency on patient understanding and comfort in medical settings. Additionally, we identify the added responsibilities shouldered by non-English patients and the minimization of patient-physician interaction in the US healthcare system. In conclusion, our findings underscore the urgency of improving communication and understanding between patients and providers. This entails training healthcare providers in cultural competency and ensuring multilingual health materials’ availability. By addressing language barriers, we can strive towards a more equitable healthcare system that meets the diverse needs of all patients.

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