A Framework to Guide ICT Solution for Language Barrier in South African Healthcare

A Framework to Guide ICT Solution for Language Barrier in South African Healthcare

Phathutshedzo Makovhololo (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa) and Tiko Iyamu (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/JCIT.2020040101

Abstract

In recent years, healthcare service providers have increasingly employed mobile systems in delivering services. However, the nature of the diversities in tribes and languages within many developing countries enhance the difficulty of delivering or receiving the services which are provided by many healthcare organisations. This is so because the English language is the primary medium of communication, although many healthcare recipients are not conversant in English as they cannot speak English fluently or understand it coherently. The objective of the study was to understand the impact which language barrier have on healthcare services. The interpretivist approach was employed. The case study approach was applied. Qualitative data were collected using semi-structured technique. The analysis of the data was guided by two theories, actor network theory and diffusion of innovation. From the findings, a framework was developed, which is intended to guide a solution that can be provided to address the barrier in the South African healthcare environment.
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Literature Review

The advancement in ICT solutions has over the years increasingly managed to improve an efficient distribution of healthcare services to people in rural areas. According to Iftikhar., Ishaq, Ahmad, & Fatima (2010), health informatics play a vital role in the integration of ICT solutions for healthcare purposes. This includes data storage and retrieval (Rodger, 2015). Despite advancements in ICT solutions, language barriers have been shown to affect the quality of healthcare received by limited English proficiency patients. “Language is a mirror of the mind in a deep and significant sense. It is a product of human intelligence” (Chomsky, 1975 p. 4; Idalovichi, 2014). In late 1999, the Institute of Medicine highlighted the effects of language barriers in its report on medical errors and patient safety (Kohn, Corrigan, & Donaldson, 1999). Error rates were higher when physicians and patients spoke different languages (Gandhi, Burstin, Cook, Puopolo, Haas, Brennan, & Bates, 1998). Woloshin, Bickell, Schwartz, Gany, & Welch (1995) associate language barriers and inaccurate with errors in medical history and misdiagnosing of medical conditions.

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