Translation and localization are necessities in virtually every industry today. But maybe only in the healthcare sector can a failure here become a matter of life and death.
The challenge is that healthcare is in the midst of dramatic changes in how it is offered, paid for, and supported. One recent development that has been getting a good deal of attention lately is the rise of urgent care facilities as a cheaper, more convenient alternative to the traditional emergency room.
These facilities, sometimes called “docs in a box,” offer walk-in medical services and extended hours for those with non-life-threatening medical problems. Doctors provide the care, assisted by nurses, and most are open 365 days a year with insurance covering most services.
In most states, however, urgent care centers are not overseen by the Department of Health or other state agencies. This means things like services, staff credentials, and the hours of operation are not always clear. Also unclear is each center’s commitment to healthcare access for limited English proficient (LEP) audiences.
If urgent care centers are a trend that will endure, those operating them must remember the language needs of their. Otherwise, only those who speak English well are likely to benefit.