Linguistic and ethnic diversity is a feature of patient profiles at almost all public healthcare facilities in urban areas in Australia. Patients with limited proficiency in the socially dominant language – in this case Limited English proficiency (LEP) patients – commonly form a significant patient group in public healthcare settings. Communication barriers that exist between patients and healthcare professionals necessitate the provision of translation and interpreting (T&I) services. This study presents longitudinal data from Melbourne, Australia, on the provision of (T&I) services together with patient length of stay (LOS) and patient readmission rates over a 10-year period at a large, public healthcare provider. Patient LOS and patient readmission rates are key metrics for effective diagnosis and treatment of patients and commonly used to measure the performance of various aspects of healthcare provision. The augmentation of T&I services within a general policy of patient-centred care is shown to accompany decreased LOS and lower readmission rates for LEP patients.
- medical interpreting
- patient length of stay
- patients with limited English proficiency
- professional interpreting services
- readmission rates