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One of the many problems confronting today's physician is the need to communicate with patients of many different cultural backgrounds and different languages. In psychiatry, as in many other medical specialties, the initial assessment depends on the ability of the clinician to communicate with the patient. Currently, if the doctor and the patient do not speak the same language, a sometimes clumsy translation process impedes the patient-physician relationship and frequently hampers or minimizes this crucial first evaluation.
A new system to translate patient information to the clinician is being explored. Using scan forms to ask patients important clinical questions in their own language, offers a unique way to begin to gather necessary medical information.