First National Study of Language Barriers in U.S. Health Care

Verbal communication between doctors and patients is vitally important. Without it, patients cannot adequately explain symptoms, discuss preferred treatments, or ask questions, and physicians can find it more challenging to diagnose, prescribe care options, or recommend healthy behaviors.

In this first-ever comprehensive study, we examine the second languages spoken by multilingual U.S. physicians, focusing on:

  • Non-English languages most commonly spoken by physicians nationally
  • Different languages spoken by doctors compared to patient populations
  • Demographic trends between doctors and patients across the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs)

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