Meeting Patient Safety and Quality of Care Needs
Due to the growing number of racial and ethnic populations in the metropolitan Chicago region, hospitals often face language barriers with their patients. Traditionally a melting pot of diversity, Chicago is home to more than 130 different languages. In fact, 36 percent of Chicago residents speak a language other than English at home. As the non-English speaking population continues to grow, hospitals will continue to spend a substantial amount of money on interpreters – at no cost to patients – to optimize the patient-provider interactions.
In 2009, hospitals in the metropolitan Chicago region spent more than $15 million on language assistance services, which included translators, signage, forms, brochures, patient education materials and other information in languages other than English. Removing such language barriers will offer a unique opportunity for access to care for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as help hospitals address patient safety and quality of care.