Sears J, Khan K, Ardern CI, Tamim H. Potential for patient-physician language discordance in Ontario. BMC Health Services Research. 2013; 13: 535. Contact: Jennifer Miniota (Sears) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Issue: Quality of care can be seriously compromised when primary care physicians and patients can’t communicate in the same language.
What we did: We used 2006 census data to pick out the top five languages spoken by people in Ontario who do not speak English or French. We also identified the municipalities (census divisions) where they lived. We then looked at the availability of primary care physicians in these municipalities who self-identified as speaking one of these top five languages, which were Chinese*, Italian, Punjabi, Portuguese and Spanish.
What we found:
Program and policy responses could include:
Future research could include:
For this study, we did not look at gaps within municipalities. Additional research is needed to examine gaps within larger urban centres.
*Due to the fact that the population census and our physician language database used different definitions of Chinese languages, we combined all Chinese languages together for the purposes of our study. As a result, we may have over-estimated the degree of language concordance in certain census divisions.