Too Little Information: Accessibility of Information About Language Services on Hospital Websites

J Immigr Minor Health. 2020 Jun;22(3):433-438. doi: 10.1007/s10903-020-00978-8.


Hospital websites are an important resource to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) seeking information about a facility's language assistance services. We sought to identify the types of such services described on hospital websites in a diverse state and compare them by hospital characteristics. Washington State acute care hospital websites were systematically reviewed in February 2018 for translated content and information about language assistance services. Hospital characteristics included annual admissions and revenue, bed size and the proportion of populations with LEP in the hospital's county. Of 93 hospitals, 10.8% provided translated websites. Interpreter services were mentioned on 81.7% of websites; access required navigation through 1-4 English webpages. Larger bed-size, higher revenue, and more admissions were positively associated with providing language services information (p < 0.01), whereas county-level population with LEP was not (p = 0.17). Many hospital websites are not translated or lack easily accessible information about language assistance services and consequently may not be a useful resource to patients with LEP.

Keywords: Access; Equity; Hospital; Internet; Language; Website.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Translating*
  • Washington