Preprint Listening to Foreign Patient Voices : A Narrative Approach

Watanabe, Aya  ,  Sakka, Lorraine

17pp.1 - 11 , 2017-01 , 福井大学医学部
Background: With over 2 million foreign residents in Japan and the increased number of visitors from abroad, Japan must provide healthcare for the non-Japanese speaking population. The government has also implemented a plan to establish 30 medical institution hubs in and around the larger metropolis cities to have language services for visitors who are expected to come for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though a small growing body of research has investigated communication difficulties between foreign patients and the healthcare institutions, there is much to be addressed. Our current study approaches this issue through a narrative-based approach. Method: Two researchers individually interviewed a total of 13 foreign residents who agreed to participate in interviews that were audio-recorded. Three main questions were asked: previous medical experiences in their own home country, reason for living in Japan (primarily Fukui) and their experiences and insights from their encounters with the healthcare system. These recorded sessions were transcribed and analyzed into categories of concerns expressed through the interviews. Results: Experiences were categorized into five main areas: 1) Privacy and confidentiality, 2) Cultural differences, 3) Mismatch in expectations, 4) Differences in medical systems, and 5) Language-related issues both spoken and written. Conclusion: This study found that while language problems exist, there are other concerns that make accessing healthcare in Japan a challenge for non-Japanese speaking residents. Previous experiences as well as cultural expectations of what should occur within a healthcare setting.

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