Joint Commission, HHS Release Video to Improve Language Access in Healthcare

Amid growing concerns about racial, ethnic and language disparities in healthcare, The Joint Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights have released a video, entitled "Improving Patient-Provider Communication," which supports language access in healthcare organizations, according to a release from The Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission and HHS agree that effective communication is a critical aspect of safe, quality patient care. Many patients of varying circumstances require alternative communication methods, and the new video will help healthcare organizations determine the best methods of care for meeting these communication needs.
Healthcare organizations face challenges to accommodate increasingly diverse patient populations — there are more than 28 million people with hearing loss and around 47 million people who speak a language other than English, according to the release. The video provides tools designed to help healthcare organizations improve language access for patients.
The video also explains why particular attention should be paid to Federal civil rights standards and The Joint Commission's accreditation standards pertaining to effective communication and language access and addresses the obligations of healthcare organizations with respect to the translation of written documents, according to the release. HHS and The Joint Commission do not endorse one specific approach to ensuring language access, according to the release, but recommend using resources and modes of interpretation that are accessible, in working order and are put into use when necessary to serve the needs of patients and their families.

This video streams from The Joint Commission's Hospitals, Language and Culture Web site. This page also includes related resources from the Hospitals, Language and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation study, a cross-sectional, qualitative study of how 60 hospitals across the country provide healthcare to culturally and linguistically diverse patient populations, conducted by The Joint Commission with funding from The California Endowment. The video is also available at the Office of Civil Rights Web site.    

The OCR Web page also includes many resources on effective communication for LEP, deaf and hard of hearing persons.

 Learn more about The Joint Commission.

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