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Ann Arbor, MI
Measuring the Cost and Effectiveness of Interpreter Services in the Health Care Setting
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
School of Public Health Bldg. ICrossroads 1655 SPH
Ann Arbor, MI
Elizabeth Jacobs, MD, MPP, Associate Professor and Associate Vice Chair for Health Services Research, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of WisconsinLanguage barriers in health care are a large and growing problem in the US, which contribute to disparities in health care quality and outcomes in populations with limited English proficiency. While provision of adequate interpreter services has been shown to reduce these disparities, many health care organizations do not provide them, citing their cost. However, little is known about the true costs of providing these services or the costs of not providing them. In this presentation, Dr. Jacobs will describe what is known about the costs and the benefits of providing interpreter services, including data from a study in which her research team calculated the cost of providing interpreter services in a network of public hospitals and put them in the context of estimated costs for other modes of interpretation. The goal behind this body of work is to provide policy makers and health care providers with data they can use to make informed decisions going forward about how to pay for the provision of linguistic access services as a means for reducing disparities.After struggling to care for limited English-speaking patients during medical school and residency, Dr. Jacobs decided to pursue a research career investigating minority disparities in health care. Dr. Jacobs' research interests include access to, and cultural specificity of, medical care delivered to minority patients, the impact of interpreter service interventions on the cost and quality of healthcare, health literacy and numeracy, and the role that trust in health care plays in racial/ethnic disparities in health care. She is recognized as an expert on the provision of linguistically accessible and culturally competent care and has served on Office of Minority Health, Joint Commission, National Quality Forum, and AHRQ expert panels. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and has authored three book chapters. In addition, she works with other investigators to design culturally specific research, and teaches residents and medical students about practicing culturally sensitive medicine.
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