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Page history last edited by Pierre PLUYE 14 years ago



Rosenberg, E. (2010). Prevalence of patient communication difficulties in urban family practice. McGill Family Medicine Studies Online, 05: e01. http://mcgill-fammedstudies-recherchemedfam.pbwiki.com/MFMSO200904e01#. Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5qOQDjdYs


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To estimate the prevalence of communication barriers (as defined by limited proficiency in the official languages (LLP) and hearing loss) in primary care in urban practice in Montreal, Canada. 


We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 579 patients (73.2% of those approached) at 6 family practice clinics and 34 physicians (45% of those approached) at one of the 6 clinics.


Based on patient report, 16.9% were unable to speak English or French well enough to talk with their doctor, 14.1% had a hearing loss and 10.9% were accompanied by someone to assist in communication. Based on physician report in one clinic, 4.5% had LLP and 1.8% were accompanied by someone to interpret. The respective rates for patient report in this clinic were 10.7% and 7.5%.


Family physicians in Canadian cities are faced with particular challenges in communicating with approximately 14% of their patients because of impaired hearing and 17% of their patients because of their limited proficiency in either of Canada’s official languages. Moreover, physicians may be overestimating their patients’ language proficiency.

Practice Implications

Identification of these communication difficulties is a necessary first step in the process of providing effective care to these vulnerable patients

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