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Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2012 Sep;71(9):249-52.

Perspectives of Chuukese patients and their health care providers on the use of different sources of interpreters.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawai'i John A Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI, USA. karawong@hawaii.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Immigrants from Chuuk, a Pacific Island nation in Micronesia, are a growing population of limited-English speakers in Hawai'i. The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of Chuukese patients and their physicians in Honolulu, Hawai'i on interpreter services.

METHODS:

An anonymous multiple choice survey was distributed to potential patients through a Chuukese community group and to physicians through the Hawai'i Residency Programs to examine the following sources of interpreters: Family member or friend, telephone interpreter, or professional in-person interpreter. Statistical significance of cross-tabulated responses was analyzed using Fisher's exact test.

RESULTS:

114 surveys from health care providers and 95 surveys from Chuukese community members were analyzed after exclusion criteria. Using a family member or friend was the method most frequently used by physicians (78%) and Chuukese patients (71%). Telephone interpreters were used the least by physicians (6%) and Chuukese patients (2%) and both rated it poorly in terms of comfort and ease of use. Physicians rated professional in-person interpreters as the best method (67%) while Chuukese patients rated using a family member or friend as the best method (61%), especially among those who reported a lower English proficiency (P = .04) and who lived in Hawai'i for fewer years (P > .01).

DISCUSSION:

The preference of Chuukese patients for using a family member or friend as interpreter differs from national standards which promote the use of a professional interpreter. Given the preference of both physicians and Chuukese patients for in-person interpreters over telephone interpreters, there is a need for increased training and hiring of in-person interpreters.

KEYWORDS:

Chuukese; Micronesian; cross cultural care; language barrier; medical interpreters; professional interpreter; telephone interpreter; translator

PMID:
23115753
PMCID:
PMC3443847
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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