The present work aims to raise awareness of the issue of patient safety communication in multicultural and multilingual healthcare settings and to present strategies on how to overcome emerging cultural and language barriers and enable healthcare providers to reduce the risk of miscommunication, prevent inequalities and disparities, and provide their patients with safe and quality care. It also strives to present the policies and measures the United States and Canada have implemented and the strategies U.S. experts have developed to advance effective communication between provider and patient.
The literature review was conducted on academic works and publications by health associations, institutes of health, and government departments in topics such as adverse events in health care and strategies to reduce cross-cultural miscommunications and on guides for hospitals.
Cultural diversity in a patient population, language barriers, and a lack of effective communication can impose an increased threat on an individual's health. In order to radically decrease the incidence of adverse events, policies and systems on how to manage multinational and multilingual medical environments should be created at a national level. Cultural competence is also key to delivering care that meets patients' social and cultural needs; furthermore, developing a language access plan and providing language assistance (interpretation, translation) for those in need can greatly contribute to providing quality care.