The language barrier is one of the main problems of communication between healthcare staff and allophone users in Spain. The foreign population in Spain is 5,512,5581. This figure has not stopped increasing since the migratory boom of the 1990s. Two thirds come from countries where a language other than Spanish or the other official languages of Spain are spoken. According to IDESCAT, 16,3% of the population of Catalonia has a foreign nationality. The efforts invested over the last three decades by healthcare services and public administration to tackle communication barriers have proved insufficient in the face of the constant flow, not only of immigrants and refugees, but also of tourists who visit our country.

Although there are studies at the national level that point to a defective communication in healthcare with immigrant populations who do not master the local languages, the data collected correspond to a very initial situation of the migratory reality in Spain from 15 years ago. Moreover, other recent studies and PhD thesis focus on different case studies, with a more limited scope. Hence, it seems appropriate to conduct a new study that offers a wide picture that takes into account the reality of immigration in Catalonia and the particular sociolinguistic situation of this territory, which poses its own challenges.

As a result, this project aims to study and evaluate mediated intercultural communication in healthcare services in Catalonia in order to identify problems and offer specific solutions that can be of benefit both to foreign users of healthcare services and can help to improve the efficiency of the healthcare services themselves. All this while offering a holistic view of the perceptions of all the (direct and indirect) actors involved in mediated intercultural communication in healthcare, such as healthcare providers, users, language intermediaries (whether professional or non-professional), hospital managers, directors, and public policy makers, something that, to the best of our knowledge, no other study has done before.

This project is a Knowledge Generation Project aimed at societal challenges and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities (ref. number: PID2022-137113OB-I00).