Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Patient Satisfaction of Telephone or Video Interpreter Services Compared with In-Person Services: A Systematic Review *

Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Patient Satisfaction of Telephone or Video Interpreter Services Compared with In-Person Services: A Systematic Review *

Article excerpt


In Australia, 23.2% ofthe population speaks a language other than English at home,1 whereas 2% do not speak English at all.2 The most commonly spoken languages other than English include Mandarin (1.6%), Italian (1.5%), Arabic (1.3%), Cantonese (1.2%) and Greek (1.2%), indicating the broadrange of languages spoken in our communities.1 These statistics illustrate that there are potential language barriers present in healthcare settings. As a result, healthcare services are faced with the challenge to provide adequate interpreter services in order to facilitate effective and efficient care for patients who cannot speak English proficiently. For example, patients who cannot speak English proficiently are more likely to report problems with care, be less satisfied, be at an increased risk of medical errors and are less likely to have a regular source of primary care.3

Previous reviews have explored the use of interpreters in healthcare and found that professional interpreters are associated with improved clinical care, improved satisfaction and improved outcomes.4,5 In addition to this, professional interpreters have been shown to improve the quality of care to a standard that is equal to that for patients who do not need an interpreter.4 Currently, there are different modes in which professional interpreters can deliver their services, such as telephone and video. With the increasing use of these modalities, several studies have explored the use of telephone interpreters6-10 and video interpreters9,11 in health care settings. However, there is currently no study that gathers and summarises the evidence of these remote interpreting methods and how they relate to patient satisfaction.


The aim of the present review was to identify and synthesise the evidence of patient satisfaction around the use of telephone and video interpreter services compared with in-person services in healthcare.


The protocol for this review was preregistered with PROSPERO (CRD42016039624).

Study eligibility criteria

All treatment and observational studies were included in this review. Any study that did not compare in-person interpreter services with either telephone or video interpreter services was excluded from analysis (Table 1).

Search strategy

The PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, Cochrane library, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) and Joanna Briggs Registered Systematic Review databases were searched. Search dates are provided in Table 2 and search terms are given in Table 3.

Internet search strategy and search terms

An Internet search strategy was conducted using Google Scholar and the Google 'Advanced Search' function. The search string was limited to documents in English. The search terms used were 'patient satisfaction' or 'consumer satisfaction' or 'client satisfaction' AND 'interpreter' .

Study selection

Titles and abstracts identified were exported to EndNote X7 (Thompson Reuters). Identified publications were screenedusing inclusion and exclusion criteria established a priori (Table 1). Searches of health databases and Internet searches were screened by two reviewers (MG and CJ), in consultation with colleagues as necessary. Titles and abstracts were reviewed based on study eligibility. If there was some uncertainty about the inclusion of a study, the full text was retrieved. Following inclusion of a publication, the full-text article was retrieved and read to determine final inclusion.

Data collection process

Data were extracted by two reviewers (CJ and MG). A spreadsheet was set up to contain the following information from each study: population, language, intervention, comparator, outcomes, study type, clinical setting and country (Table 4). This spreadsheet acted as a data extraction form. The spreadsheet enabled common themes across studies to emerge and a narrative evidence synthesis was performed under each common theme (CJ). …

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