Archive for LEP Populations

Culture is Key to Effective Healthcare Translation

Communication gaffes can have a real impact on your organization’s reputation. In the healthcare industry, they can also be potentially dangerous. So you must be exacting when producing translated materials for your multilingual audiences. Anything less can be costly.

The first question to ask is whether you need to simply translate the materials, or if transcreation is more appropriate. While everyone is surely familiar with how translation works, transcreation might be a new term for some. Here’s a quick primer:

Transcreation combines the creative writing and marketing translation processes to adapt translated content to be more culturally relevant to your audience, making the communication both more meaningful and more effective. In order to reach your audience at an emotional and intellectual level, you must really understand the specific culture to which you are communicating, such as their country of origin and maybe even their region as well. Transcreation might be the preferred strategy when dealing with creative pieces that need to connect with your audience on a cultural level, such as health promotion materials or community programs.

In general, translation is the recommended strategy when the materials to be addressed must adhere to specific product or service requirements, such as with forms, guides, or other documents with little creative content. It is also typically the most cost-effective solution as it allows you to maximize your translation memory savings.

While both translation and transcreation play an important role in your multilingual communications, the right translation partner can help you understand the protocols and taboos for effectively communicating with all your healthcare communities. Click here to learn more about Transcreation.

Leslie

A Month that Calls for Celebration

It would be an understatement to say that most of you are a just a little preoccupied with the pending Health Insurance Exchanges that will be here in mere days. With open enrollment and the ACA weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, I thought I’d change gears and write about something uplifting that everyone can celebrate, which is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Starting in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, and celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of those with origins from Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

In a richly diverse nation full of the world’s many wonderful cultures and backgrounds, people of Hispanic origin still comprise the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Those of you that handle language access for your healthcare organization may find it no surprise that Spanish is also the second most common language in the country, and is spoken by over 30% of the population.

From the NFL to the nation’s capital, and many communities and events in between, it’s easy to find a way to join in a celebración of this historical month.

For tips on how to make the most of your marketing efforts to your Hispanic audiences check out these resources from VIA:

Leslie

Would You Like to Win a Grant for Free Healthcare Translation?

We at VIA are excited to announce that our 2013 Translation Grant Program is officially open!

In case you didn’t know, our annual translation grant program awards a total of $3,000 of in-kind translation to two healthcare organizations and/or programs that support language access.

Just like our healthcare partners and customers, the VIA team is passionate about improving healthcare access for underserved, limited English proficiency (LEP) communities. We also feel strongly about giving back, so that’s why we have maintained our tradition of awarding translation grants to healthcare organizations that are actively working to decrease disparities and improve communication efforts with their LEP populations.

If this sounds like your organization, we welcome you to apply. The deadline for applications is September 28, 2013 and recipients will be selected by October 18, 2013. Click here to learn more and get the application.

Best of luck!
Leslie

Lost in Translation: Preparing Open Enrollment Materials for LEP Populations May Be Trickier than it Seems

A recent story by OPB explained how the Oregon and Washington Health Exchanges are struggling to translate their materials correctly in preparation for open enrollment. Luckily, the exchanges don’t go live until October, so they have time to work the bugs out. We applaud them for getting a head start, as well as getting feedback on their translations.

Wherever you are at in the process, we’ve got some tips to help you get started on the right path:

  • Assess the situation: Identify the language, culture, ethnicity, and literacy levels of the groups whose needs you must address in your market.
  • Give yourself plenty of time: Keep in mind that it takes time to get your documents print-ready, translated and reviewed. Build plenty of time in your plan for each phase.
  • Find a good partner: Your choice of an LSP is critical to the success of your translation projects. Ideally, you want more than just a provider of translation services; you want a language services partner you can rely on.
  • Maximize your healthcare translation budget: By working with an LSP skilled with translation memory and industry tools, you can recycle previous translations and save 20-50%.
  • Streamline the review process: By using professionally created and maintained translation glossaries and style guides, you can reduce time spent in the review and revision process by as much as 50%.

Still feeling a little lost? We can help. Read our ANOC-EOC data sheet to learn about VIA’s translation solutions and how your plan can save time and money in your open enrollment translation process.

Bridging the Language Gap: A Key Piece to the New Healthcare Marketplace

As I previously mentioned, the upcoming open enrollment season will bring heaps of newly-eligible health consumers, many of whom do not speak English as their native tongue. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as many as one in four new consumers who will apply for health coverage in the new exchange will speak a language other than English in their home. Removing language barriers for LEP populations is a must for states and health insurance providers to truly ensure equal access to information and healthcare services.

With already so much to prepare for by October’s open enrollment date, those involved with the new health exchange may benefit from some quick tips and proven practices on how to best address their new LEP consumers. And fortunately, Families USA and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have developed a “Language Access Checklist for Marketplace Implementation”. This checklist provides a full set of recommendations on how to ensure LEP consumers can successfully enroll in, use and retain coverage. And for even more best practices on managing your multilingual healthcare communications as well as your budget, get your copy of our complimentary guide: Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare here.

Leslie

‘Tis the Season to Start Planning for Open Enrollment

As a result of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the 2014 landscape, health plans are preparing their mandated documents such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) earlier than usual. The ANOC/EOC is a critical component of your plan as it provides details about coverage, costs and more. This may sound simple enough, but this year insurance plans need to take into account more than just earlier timelines. As a result of the recent reform, 12 million new customers and 11 million small businesses will flood the insurance market in January. Many of these new consumers will come from households that are not only more culturally and linguistically diverse, but that have never had health insurance before.

Navigating the new health exchanges and healthcare system is challenging enough for seasoned professionals, let alone for someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. And with October and the open enrollment period right around the corner, health plans will soon need to find new strategies to effectively communicate with their new and diverse customers. Bridging the language gap is essential to ensuring diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare, because true understanding happens when people can internalize the material in their native language. So whether it’s ANOC/EOC’s, SBC’s, or any of the other numerous communications your plan will soon be sending out, the key is to ensure that you are truly reaching your market in a meaningful, effective way.

Learn more about VIA’s ANOC/EOC translations and how your plan can save up to 20%.

Leslie

Growing Gardens of Hope

We talk about diminishing disparities and improving health literacy for multilingual populations on a routine basis in this blog. Approaching this from a slightly different perspective, I’d like to share Patricia Leigh Brown’s article “Seeking Serenity in a Patch of California Land” that ran in the New York Times this week which highlights a California city’s innovative approach to wellness for immigrant families.

Fresno recently created seven community gardens for immigrants, refugees and residents of impoverished neighborhoods with mental health money from the state. Gardens include the Hmong Village Community Garden, the Slavic Community Garden, the Punjabi Sikh Sarbat Bhala Community Garden and more.

Patricia shares that spending state money this way has been controversial. While, some think of it as frivolous in an era of ever diminishing resources, others believe there is true healing power in the gardens:

The thinking of community leaders and health professionals is that gardens can help foster resiliency and a sense of purpose for refugees, especially older ones, who are often isolated by language and poverty and experiencing depression and post-traumatic stress. Immigrant families often struggle to meet insurance co-payments, and culturally attuned therapists are in short supply.

In addition, it may very well be a highly cost effective solution – as many immigrant and refugee cultures do not have a tradition of formal mental health treatment. The article quotes Rocco Cheng, a psychologist and a director of the California Reducing Disparities Project, a statewide policy study, who tells us “Therapy is a Western concept. The Hmong do not have a word for mental illness.”  But, he said, they are well able to grasp the idea of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellness.

As we redesign the healthcare delivery and reimbursement systems with a focus on outcomes over the next few years, I applaud new ideas and novel approaches to meeting all patients, regardless of their age, illness, language or culture, in a meaningful way. This truly is a unique way to look at patient engagement.

Does Your Roadmap Include Translation?

I recently joined the Healthcare marketing network group on LinkedIn and noticed that one of the most popular discussions is “One Big Reason Health Exchanges May Fail” which was started by Andrew Atkin, CEO, Planet H. Mr. Atkin makes some fantastic points and I agree that building a roadmap will greatly improve the customer experience for any state’s exchange program. That said, I think there’s one key element that should be added: language and cultural barriers.

Mr. Atkin notes that many of the 12 million new customers and 11 million small businesses that will flood the insurance market in 2014 “be less educated and more racially diverse.” In addition, he calls out a few great questions that healthcare marketers need to be thinking about, such as “How do you reach these customers?” But one question he doesn’t ask is “How do we communicate with the subset of these customers who don’t speak English as their first language?”

Research shows that limited-English-proficient (LEP) and minority populations are more likely than their white counterparts to have chronic disease, lack health insurance, and have difficulties communicating with healthcare providers, even if qualified as highly literate in their primary language. Even for those who speak English as a second language, comprehension of new vocabulary or subject matter can be quite low. This is especially true when faced with difficult medical terminology.

Bridging the language gap is key to ensuring your culturally diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare. True understanding happens when they can internalize the material in their native language. Therefore, I would recommend adding an 8th step to the roadmap: Tailor communication to the targeted cultures through translation and localization. Further, I would expand Mr. Atkins second big idea to say that trusted translators should be included in the close marketing partnerships with insurers, navigators and exchanges in order to truly “power the Customer Experience Road Map.”

To find out more about how to create readable health materials in any language, read our brief The Growing Challenges of Health Literacy.

Why Centralize Your Healthcare Translation Approach?

When it comes to translations, maintaining consistency and efficiency can be tricky, especially when organizations are managing multiple languages and multiple translation vendors. How can healthcare organizations ensure their brand is consistently translated from one language service provider to the next? And how can version control be maintained when there are numerous versions of documents living in multiple places at once?

The key to avoiding these issues is establishing a centralized translation process. While this may not be the solution for every organization, it may be the right step for larger organizations that are challenged with some of the following:

  • Supporting large volumes in one or more languages
  • Various types of healthcare content
  • Standardized healthcare preferences and terms
  • Private health information content
  • Meeting compliance regulations
  • Desire to improve quality management, reduce costs and minimize mistakes

If any of the above applies to your organization, it may be time to consider the idea of centralization. Centralizing enables fast, predictable turnaround of multilingual projects and delivers cost savings through the use of linguistic assets such as translation memories and technology tools. Centralization also saves time by allowing for a single record of all active and live documents that have been translated. It takes a bit of effort to get there, but it’s definitely worth your while. To read more about centralizing, and how it worked for a large California health System, click here.

Leslie

HHS Releases CLAS & Blueprint to Help Organizations Improve Health Care Quality

Earlier this week Health and Human Services (HHS) released the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. This is meant to be a blueprint to guide individuals and organizations in implementing culturally and linguistically appropriate services in order to help advance better health and health care in the United States. You can read the press release here.

According to the www.ThinkCulturalHealth.hhs.gov website:

Health inequities in our nation are well documented, and the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) is one strategy to help eliminate health inequities. By tailoring services to an individual’s culture and language preference, health professionals can help bring about positive health outcomes for diverse populations.

We couldn’t agree more. At VIA we believe that bridging the language gap is key to ensuring culturally diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare. That said, we realize that reaching out to an ever-expanding range of cultures in your community and finding solutions to best meet the growing needs for your limited English proficiency (LEP) populations is challenging and complex. But, we’re here to help. From websites to patient education, VIA tailors each communication to the targeted culture.

As dedicated healthcare specialists, we serve over 400 healthcare clients globally. We’ve built translation capabilities in over 125 languages and a hand-selected network of over 1,000 professional healthcare-specific linguists.

In addition, to help you with this particular aspect of health equity, we have also created a guide with tips about how to keep current with language access mandates while still providing culturally and linguistically meaningful healthcare communications to your members and community.