Since 2010, Asian-Americans have been the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. Data from the last United States Census Bureau reported that the total Asian-American population in the U.S. was 19.4 million. Currently, California has the largest Asian population of any U.S. state (6.1 million) and San Francisco has the highest percentage (21.4) of Chinese-Americans living in a U.S. city.
When you have more than one ethnic group living in a city, it is imperative that you have resources for those residents in order to have a thriving diverse population. That is more evident than ever when it comes to the field of healthcare.
Clear communication between caregivers and patients is essential to safe, high quality healthcare services. Developing rapport and gaining patient trust relies on understanding. When a patient and a nurse or physician do not speak the same language, there is less opportunity to obtain a comprehensive patient history, learn relevant clinical information, or increase emotional engagement in treatment.
It is not surprising that communication challenges occur when patients and doctors do not speak the same language. However, according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the skills required to comprehend typical health information exceed the abilities of the average American, let alone someone who does not speak English as his or her first language.
Research shows that communication failures between patients and their caregivers contribute to adverse events and medical errors. Linguistic diversity within the U.S. is greater than ever and the rapid growth of the population with limited English proficiency (LEP) is emerging as a new risk that medical offices are preparing to handle.
At San Francisco CyberKnife, we understand the importance of having nurses and physicians on staff that speak different languages. We know that our patients want to feel comfortable and need to comprehend the important advice and treatment that our physicians have to offer. In order to better serve our patients, we have a nurse and three radiation oncologists on staff who speak Chinese languages, in addition to English. Minnie Li, NP, speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and Taishanese, Meiwen Wu, M.D. and Alexander B. Geng, M.D. both speak Cantonese and Mandarin, and Sara M. Huang, M.D. speaks Cantonese.
For more information about the staff at San Francisco CyberKnife, please click here. To contact us for questions, or to schedule an appointment, please click here.