Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations:

C-7 Speaking together: Findings from a hospital disparities collaborative

Limited-English speaking populations continue to grow in communities across the United States and hospitals and health care providers need tools and methods to communicate better with these patients. Persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) are not only less likely to receive primary care and preventive services, but are also less likely to receive the same quality of care as English proficient patients.

With organizations required to address language barriers as part of health care delivery, hospitals can benefit from the learning and strategies that have been demonstrated to improve access to effective language services.  Because few hospitals have applied quality improvement techniques and standardized performance measures and data to guide delivery and operations of language services, the experience of the hospitals in Speaking Together is a critical step towards eliminating language barriers in health care.  Speaking Together is the first initiative to bring together hospitals with high volumes of patients with LEP to apply quality improvement techniques to language services.

Speaking Together is a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and housed at The George Washington University (GWU) School of Public Health and Health Services.  Speaking Together focused on improving the quality and availability of language services of patients with LEP in hospital settings.  The program awarded grants to ten hospitals to facilitate their participation in an 18-month learning network to apply quality improvement techniques to their language service programs.  Each of the grantees measured the performance of their language service programs using quality measures developed by the national program office at GWU.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Speaking Together initiative, highlighting successes and lessons learned.  Members from participating Speaking Together hospitals will also share their experiences from Speaking Together, and the discussion will focus on:

  • Using the Quality Improvement model to develop a strategy for improving language services delivery
  • Examining what the results from Speaking Together mean for the field of language services
  • Describing the challenges with using performance measurement for language services delivery
  • Discussing specific actions taken to improve the performance measures and the delivery of language services in Speaking Together hospitals
Tuesday, September 23, 2008: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
8th Floor - Excelsior/Lafayette (Minneapolis Marriott City Center)
Speaking together: Findings from a hospital disparities collaborative
Marsha Regenstein, PhD, The George Washington University Medical Center
Providing Interpreter Services and Assessing Quality of Care in Patients with Limited English Proficiency: The University of Michigan Experience
Connie J. Standiford, Internal Medicine - University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers
You Talkin To Me? Improving Care to Limited English Proficient Patients
Elizabeth M. Nolan, RN, MS, APRN-BC, Cardiovascular Center, University of Michigan Health System