Patients with little knowledge of the German language have a special need for information. Due to language barriers they behave more passively in medical encounter, have a poorer knowledge about their disease and are generally less satisfied with their medical care. Foreign language patient information material could bridge the gap between medical consultation and the patients' self-responsibility and involve patients more actively in the treatment process. Based on extensive research in several areas (internet, clinic and practice leaflets, drug patient information leaflets) the present article illustrates that in all these areas foreign language patient information is very poorly available compared to German material. The reinforcement of the development of such material could lead to a higher involvement of immigrant patients' in the decision-making process, higher rates of patient safety and satisfaction and, overall, to a better quality of care for all patient groups in Germany.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier GmbH.