PRP053: Communication Sheet for Japanese Patients – helping communication between Japanese patients and health professionals

Kento Sonoda, MD; Teiichi Takedai, MD


Context: Because two Japanese-speaking physicians work at this health center, Japanese-speaking patients in the urban area commonly seek primary care there. However, there are no Japanese-speaking nurses, resulting in a language barrier for initial arrival at appointments, rooming and some screenings. Language barriers between health professionals and patients can slow down clinic flow and negatively affect patients’ health and their satisfaction with care.
Objective: To reduce communication barriers between Japanese patients and health professionals during care interactions.
Study Design: This observational study developed and tested an intervention for Japanese patients who are seen by Japanese-speaking physicians but who interact with other clinic staff who do not speak Japanese.
Setting or Dataset: Single institutional. A primary care clinic in an urban setting.
Population studied: In the five-month data collection period between November 2019 and March 2020, 36 Japanese patients participated during primary care appointments, when they were seen by two Japanese-speaking physicians. Patients who were not seen by Japanese-speaking physicians or who received a telemedicine visit were excluded.
Intervention/instrument: A Japanese-English Communication Sheet (JECS) was developed and provided to nurses for use during visits with Japanese patients. The JECS is written in Japanese and English and targets common sources of confusion by explaining differences between care processes in Japan and the U.S.A., including differences in culture, electronic prescription, and screening tests.
Outcome Measures: Participating patients completed questionnaires that included self-evaluation of English communication skills, and willingness to use the JECS at the next health center visit. We analyzed the percentages of respondents who found the sheet helpful and used a Chi-Square to test associations between self-assessed English language level and JECS usefulness.
Results: Over half (16/24; 66.7%) of patients with limited English proficiency found the JECS useful, compared to only 41.6% (5/12) of those without self-identified language barriers. This finding was not statistically significant [p = 0.15].
Conclusions: We expected that patients with limited English proficiency would find the JECS more useful compared with those without self-identified language barriers.

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11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood, KS 66211