Amid growing concerns about racial, ethnic and language disparities in health care, The Joint Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights have released a video, entitled “Improving Patient-Provider Communication,” which supports language access in health care organizations. 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 this new video will help health care organizations determine the best methods of care for meeting these communication needs.
Health care organizations face challenges to accommodate increasingly diverse patient populations -- more than 28 million people with hearing loss (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimate) and approximately 47 million people who speak a language other than English (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Language access remains a matter of national importance. The video identifies tools that health care organizations can use to build effective language access programs.