Patient satisfaction with Spanish-speaking providers vs. English-speaking providers with translation

V. Vela, D. McCormick, J. Perez, D. Rassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient satisfaction is an important issue at institutions providing healthcare for Hispanic patients. In pediatric clinic, we compared the effectiveness of Spanish-speaking interpreters to 1) the effectiveness of Spanish-speaking providers for monolingual Hispanic patients and 2) the effectiveness of English speaking providers for English-speaking patients. Translators included a bilingual first year medical student, a family member, hospital staff members, or a bilingual physician. After clinic visits, the medical student administered a demographic and satisfaction questionnaire to caretakers. Satisfaction scores were calculated, and possible scores ranged from 5 (poor) to 22 (excellent). Data were analyzed by percentages, chi-square tests, t-tests, and ANOVA's, using the Crunch 4 statistical program. Of 122 patients or caretakers evaluated, 61 were English-speaking patients with English-speaking providers, 47 were Spanish-speaking patients with English-speaking providers and a translator, and 14 were Spanish-speaking patients with Spanish-speaking providers. Satisfaction with care scores averaged 15.75, with a range from 9-22, and no statistically significant differences in satisfaction were detected between the three groups. Among monolingual Spanish-speaking caretakers, scores for satisfaction with interpretation services averaged 7.15 and ranged from 5-10 (out of a possible range from 2 [poor] to 10 [excellent]), with no significant differences between the two groups. Therefore, a patient/caretaker communicating to a provider through an effective interpreter was as satisfied with core as a Spanish- speaking patient communicating with a Spanish-speaking provider. These results suggest that perceived quality of care need not be compromised when providers do not speak the language of the patient, if clinics make adequate translation services available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34A
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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