Archive for February 17, 2011

Healthcare reform set to increase demand for medical translation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us we can expect the healthcare industry to grow over the next decade. How much? Forecasts are that about one in four jobs created in the U.S. through 2018 will be in healthcare.

The engines behind such growth are fairly easy to identify: America’s aging population and the $940 billion Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed last March. What some may neglect to appreciate is what this means for medical translation.

Industry analysts suggest these developments could lead to an increase in the insurance rolls of approximately 44 million people. Most striking for medical translators is that half of those will be coming from communities in which English is not the primary language.

Not surprisingly, a great many of these limited English proficient (LEP) Americans are applauding the reform and looking forward to the welcome coverage. For example, a recent New America Media poll revealed that more than 65 percent of Korean-Americans, the nation’s most underinsured ethnic group, support the reform package.

But such growth is also likely to trigger a spike in the need for medical translation, which the new legislation mandates must be “culturally and linguistically appropriate.” Plus, this now applies not only to health plan details, but also benefit, prescription, and treatment information, a big change. And most significantly perhaps it must all be completed by July 1, 2011.

Today’s uninsured are ready. But will the industry be ready to receive them?

Till next time,