Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Nov;156(11):1108-13.

Professional interpreters and bilingual physicians in a pediatric emergency department: effect on resource utilization.

Author information

1
Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, Denver, Colo 80218, USA. hampers.lou@tchden.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the impact of interpreters and bilingual physicians on emergency department (ED) resource utilization.

DESIGN:

Cohorts defined by language concordance and interpreter use were prospectively studied preceding and following the availability of dedicated, professional medical interpreters.

SETTING:

Pediatric ED in Chicago, Ill.

PARTICIPANTS:

We examined 4146 visits of children (aged 2 months to 10 years) with a presenting temperature of 38.5 degrees C or higher or a complaint of vomiting or diarrhea; 550 families did not speak English. In 170 cases, the treating physician was bilingual. In 239, a professional interpreter was used. In the remaining 141, a professional medical interpreter was unavailable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Incidence and costs of diagnostic testing, admission rate, use of intravenous hydration, and length of ED visit.

RESULTS:

Regression models incorporated clinical and demographic factors. Compared with the English-speaking cohort, non-English-speaking cases with bilingual physicians had similar rates of resource utilization. Cases with an interpreter showed no difference in test costs, were least likely to be tested (odds ratio [OR], 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-0.97), more likely to be admitted (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.8), and no more likely to receive intravenous fluids, but had longer lengths of visit (+16 minutes; 95% CI, 6.2-26 minutes). The barrier cohort without a professional interpreter had a higher incidence (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.04-2.2) and cost (+$5.78; 95% CI, $0.24-$11.21) for testing and was most likely to be admitted (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.4-4.5) and to receive intravenous hydration (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.3), but showed no difference in length of visit.

CONCLUSION:

Decision making was most cautious and expensive when non-English-speaking cases were treated in the absence of a bilingual physician or professional interpreter.

PMID:
12413338
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center