Standardizing Proficiency: An Analysis of Linguistic and Cultural Indicators of Quality Care from Bilingual Physicians




Reider, Brandon

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As the population of primarily Spanish-speaking patients rises, physicians must adapt their language skills to provide quality care. Language-concordance, or the physician and patient speaking the same native language, is associated with more positive health outcomes. A lack of standardization in medical Spanish instruction and usage has led to negative health outcomes for Spanish-speakers in the US. This thesis summarizes current medical Spanish training and care, analyzes data from a bilingual residency track at Waco Family Medicine, and discusses how the results could improve medical Spanish training programs. Participating residents completed both formal testing and self-estimated their own Spanish proficiency. Resident Spanish proficiency improved over the duration of the study; however, self-estimation trends highlight the need to focus on intermediate-proficiency speakers who showed a greater tendency to over-estimate Spanish proficiency. By improving proficiency and addressing physician overconfidence, graduating residents should be able to better care for their Spanish-speaking patient populations.



Language concordance., Spanish., Bilingual physicians.