How to Find a Chinese-Speaking Doctor

Doctor and patient with hands clasped

Finding a doctor you like can be a challenge on its own, but finding a doctor who can also speak another language--especially a complex language such as Chinese--makes the search that much more difficult. Depending on community resources, research skills and a little extra effort will aid in finding a Chinese-speaking doctor.

Find a Chinese-speaking doctor

Talk to friends and family. Relatives and neighbors who also speak Chinese should be your first source to find a nearby Chinese-speaking doctor. They can not only recommend doctors who speak Chinese but also help tailor your search to a doctor who meets other needs as well, such as bedside manner or if you need a particular type of doctor or specialist.

Search through a local Chinese community center. Most cities have a Chinese community center; contact your local center or visit its website (an example is available in References). Chinese community centers can help locate a Chinese- speaking doctor, find hospitals that have staff who speak Chinese or locate a volunteer who speaks Chinese who can accompany you to a doctor visit. Websites are available in both English and Chinese for ease of use.

Contact your health insurance plan and ask for a list of nearby doctors who speak Chinese. Most health insurance companies collect data on the doctors within their provider networks that includes all languages that the doctors speak. Some companies -- such as Chinese Community Health Plan -- specialize in this information as part of service to a community. Printed provider directories, online search tools and staff on the customer service telephone lines should be able to help you find a Chinese-speaking doctor.

Call area hospitals and ask if there are doctors on staff who speak Chinese. As some communities see an influx of people who speak languages other than English, hospitals and clinics make an effort to provide resources to ensure quality care in multiple languages. Although some hospitals will allow you to search on their websites for doctors who speak a particular language, calling the hospital is still the safest bet. Some hospitals may not have doctors who speak Chinese, but may have a non-physician interpreter available.