Cutting Corners: Provider Perceptions of Interpretation Services and Factors Related to Use of an Ad Hoc Interpreter

Hisp Health Care Int. 2016 Jun;14(2):73-80. doi: 10.1177/1540415316646097. Epub 2016 Apr 29.


Introduction: This study assessed health providers' perceptions of factors related to professional interpretation services and the association between these factors and the potential use of ad hoc interpreters.

Method: Data were collected from a convenience sample of 150 health services providers at a large, regional health system in South Carolina.

Results: Providers rated "ability to communicate effectively during a clinical encounter" as paramount regarding the use of interpretation services. The most important factors related to the likely use of ad hoc interpreters (cutting corners) included locating a qualified interpreter, having to wait for a qualified interpreter, and technical difficulties regarding phone and video technology.

Conclusion: Health care organizations may benefit from increasing staff awareness about patient safety and legal and regulatory risks involved with the use of ad hoc interpreters.

Keywords: communication barriers; health care disparities; health services accessibility; health services research; language.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Awareness
  • Communication
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Comprehension
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Multilingualism
  • Patient Safety
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Risk
  • South Carolina
  • Technology
  • Telephone
  • Translating*