Examining the Validity of the PT Spanish Proficiency Measure for Use across a DPT Curriculum
Purpose: Patient-provider language discordance can result in compromised patient safety. Linguistic safety is recognized as a priority at the national level. There is a high population of Spanish-speaking patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) in the United States. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at XXX has created the Physical Therapy Spanish Proficiency Measure (PT-SPM) to assess students’ Spanish proficiency in real or simulated clinical environments. The purpose of this study was to revise the PT-SPM and examine its validity Methods/Description: The PT-SPM was revised to a 20-item tool with guidance of a linguist and statistician to assess verbal and aural Spanish proficiency. Thirty-six DPT students were hired to complete an over-the-phone Spanish language assessment (ALTA Language Services). Each student then performed a video-recorded physical therapy examination and intervention with a monolingual Spanish-speaking simulated patient. Videos were evaluated with the PT-SPM by the linguist and one of two English-Spanish bilingual physical therapists. Pearson correlation was used to examine intercorrelation of scores and Cohen’s weighted kappa for interrater agreement. Results/Outcomes: There was significant correlation between linguist, physical therapist, and over-the-phone assessment scores (P < 0.01) ranging from 0.79 to 0.89. Kappa coefficients ranged from 0.48 (moderate agreement) to 0.78 (substantial agreement) P < 0.001. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The results support that the PT-SPM is valid tool to evaluate Spanish proficiency, and a bilingual physical therapist (non-linguistic expert) can determine the proficiency of a student in a simulated clinical setting. Further research is needed to examine intrarater and interrater reliability of the tool. The PT-SPM may be used to determine physical therapist students’ readiness to function in Spanish with or without the use of a trained interpreter. The PT-SPM has the potential for adoption for use by other health professions. Assessment of health care providers’ Spanish proficiency is an important element for ensuring safe and effective communication in clinical settings. This directly is relevant to this year's subtheme of developing a culturally competent PT workforce.