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Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 480–488 | Cite as

Availability and Accuracy of Medical Record Information on Language Usage of Cancer Patients from a Multi-Ethnic Population

  • Laura A. McClure
  • Sally L. Glaser
  • Sarah J. Shema
  • Laura Allen
  • Charles Quesenberry
  • Esther M. John
  • Scarlett L. Gomez
Original Paper

Abstract

Documentation of language usage in medical settings could be effective in identifying and addressing language barriers and would improve understanding of health disparities. This study evaluated the availability and accuracy of medical records information on language for 1,664 cancer patients likely to have poor English proficiency. Accuracy was assessed by comparison to language obtained from interview-based research studies. For patients diagnosed at facilities where information on language was not abstracted electronically, 81.6% had language information in their medical records, most often in admissions documents. For all 37 hospitals, agreement between medical records and interview language was 79.3% overall and was greater for those speaking English than another language. Language information is widely available in hospital medical records of cancer patients. However, for the data to be useful for research and reducing language barriers in medical care, the information must be collected in a consistent and accurate manner.

Keywords

Cancer Language Epidemiology Medical record 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Patricia Weeks, Sarah Aroner, and Cammie d’Entremont for their contributions to this study. The authors also acknowledge the following researchers for their contributions of patient interview data to this study: J. Bloom, V. Ernster, S. Glaser, E. Holly, P. Horn-Ross, E. John, K. Kerlikowske, M. Lee, M. Schlitz, D. West, A. Whittemore, and M. Wrensch. This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Rapid Response Surveillance Study under contract N01-PC-35136 awarded to the Northern California Cancer Center. The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Health Services as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Sect. 103885, the NCI SEER Program under contract N01-PC-35136 awarded to the Northern California Cancer Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, under agreement #U55/CCR921930-02 awarded to the Public Health Institute. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Health Services, the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their contractors and subcontractors is not intended nor should be inferred. The Breast Cancer Family Registry (Breast CFR) was supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health under RFA-CA-06-503 and through cooperative agreements with members of the Breast CFR and Principal Investigators. This analysis included Breast CFR data collected by the Northern California Cancer Center (U01 CA69417). The content of this manuscript does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the National Cancer Institute or any of the collaborating centers in the Breast CFR, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government or the Breast CFR.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura A. McClure
    • 1
  • Sally L. Glaser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah J. Shema
    • 1
  • Laura Allen
    • 1
  • Charles Quesenberry
    • 3
  • Esther M. John
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scarlett L. Gomez
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Northern California Cancer CenterFremontUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Research and PolicySchool of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Division of ResearchKaiser Permanente Medical Care ProgramOaklandUSA

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