AMA Journal of Ethics. March 2017
This month in Journal of Ethics
Language and Hierarchy in Medicine
Of the many barriers to good health care service delivery, language and literacy obstacles can be the most challenging to overcome. Patients with limited English proficiency, for example, can have trouble conveying critical information about symptoms and experiences. Clinicians who understand only English might struggle to integrate critical information from these patients’ stories into the formulation of accurate diagnoses and plans to offer helpful interventions. One strategy for improving cross-cultural communication in health care organizations can happen at the organizational level: offering reliable access to quality language and interpretive services. This is one pathway to quality care and shared decision making, which some argue is not only an urgent priority, but also a clinical and ethical obligation.
Clinicians’ Obligations to Use Qualified Medical Interpreters When Caring for Patients with Limited English Proficiency Commentary by Gaurab Basu, MD, MPH, Vonessa Phillips Costa, and Priyank Jain, MD Access to language services is required when caring for patients with LEP.
Why It’s Unjust to Expect Location-Specific, Language-Specific, or Population-Specific Service from Students with Underrepresented Minority or Low-Income Backgrounds Commentary by Barret Michalec, PhD, Maria Athina (Tina) Martimianakis, PhD, Jon C. Tilburt, MD, MPH, and Frederic W. Hafferty, PhD
The Role of Universal Health Literacy Precautions in Minimizing “Medspeak” and Promoting Shared Decision Making Lara Killian, MA, MLIS, and Margo Coletti, AMLS Follow simple rules, such as checking whether patients comprehend what they’ve been told, to help patients overcome barriers posed by clinical jargon.
Language-Based Inequity in Health Care: Who Is the “Poor Historian”? Alexander R. Green, MD, MPH, and Chijioke Nze Students and residents might not fully use available interpreter services due to time pressures and a lack of incentives from supervisors.
April Moral Psychology and "Difficult" Doctor-Patient Dyads
May Mental Health and Oncology
June Moral Distress and Medicine
July Quality of Life in Dementia
August Iatrogenesis in Pediatrics
September Incarceration and Correctional Health Care
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