Cultural Competency and Its Impact on Healthcare, Health Equity, and the Patient Experience 

Cultural and linguistic competency is vital in a hospital setting where limited English proficient (LEP) patients require attention, and barriers to understanding can delay essential care. Recognizing the diverse inherent cultural differences of individuals in our communities and being adaptable to these differences is critical for healthcare providers and staff to be effective in cross-cultural situations.   

Cultural and linguistic competency allows doctors and staff to provide high-quality care, promoting health equity and improving the patient experience. Unfortunately, allowing cultural differences to obstruct care can damage patients and hospitals, leading to incorrect diagnoses, costly readmissions, low retention, and possible litigation. According to the Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database, communication issues are among the fundamental causes of 59% of significant detrimental events. Many LEP patients do not seek medical help, or information about low-cost health plans or improvements to programs like Medicaid, because they do not have the resources to understand the literature surrounding them. Cultural competence can help create outreach strategies that welcome LEP patients to connect with providers and state-based health plans, emphasizing not just speaking their language but understanding their cultural backgrounds. This ensures that limited English-speaking patients have equal access to health services, and it’s essential to providing health equity for everyone.  

Language Services Associates’ (LSA) interpreters bridge communication barriers resulting in more effective care. Medically qualified interpreters provide: 

  • The highest level of support to medical staff and LEP patients. 
  • Improved patient satisfaction and retention while reducing readmissions. 
  • Reduced clinical errors. 
  • Shortened lengths of stay. 
  • A Better patient experience. 

The value of a medically qualified interpreter’s understanding of diversity and multicultural attributes helps families, patients, medical staff, nurses, and doctors ensure complete care preferences are understood. 

In the US, 22% of the population five years old and over speak a language other than English at home. That’s approximately 67.8 million people (roughly one in five) who likely need professional language services when contacting or entering a medical facility. A patient’s experience depends on the language access they receive and the cultural competency of the doctor and medical staff via a qualified interpreter. LSA’s medical interpreters are carefully vetted and put through a rigorous assessment process that ensures the highest quality care can be delivered. These interpreters have a broad knowledge of medical terminology, treatments, and diagnosis, as well as the cultural awareness and sensitivity to interpret what a patient is communicating clearly and accurately. 

About LSA 

Language Services Associates (LSA) offers a full suite of language interpretation solutions to help optimize the experience of limited English proficient patients and customers. Providing native language support improves the efficiency and productivity of staff, raises customer satisfaction levels, and builds loyalty. For thousands of clients worldwide, in more than 230 languages, LSA provides a competitive differentiator in the healthcare, government, financial and banking, insurance, entertainment, hospitality, and manufacturing industries.