Archive for November 21, 2013

Its National Diabetes Month – Knowledge Can Be So Powerful

As I write this week’s post, its’ tempting to jump into the passionate discussion (or shall I more aptly say fray?) about the healthcare marketplace website(s) functionality, or lack thereof, consuming the country. As the accusations fly and everyone scurries to put fixes in place, I hope we can all keep the ultimate end goal in mind and focus on the intent of reform – improving population health!

With that in mind, I am going to take time this week to remind everyone about an epidemic condition – diabetes – that we can positively affect though education, lifestyle changes and proper medical care. Combating diabetes is a serious public health issue. The statistics are alarming and astound me no matter how many times I see them:

– More than 340 million people worldwide have diabetes
– Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes
– Its’ the seventh leading cause of death in this country
– Another 79 million adults are estimated to have prediabetes
– Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke
– Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations not     caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults in the US
– The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion

Whether or not we are healthcare professionals, we can all do our part to part to raise awareness this month. And as healthcare professionals, we can take that a step further by ensuring the limited English proficiency patients we serve have access to educational materials in the native languages that are most meaningful to them.

Click here to learn how one local hospital supported their LEP communities by developing a multilingual diabetes education program.


Is having patience truly a virtue when it comes to healthcare reform?

patienceI wrote a blog in early October and at the time of my writing, I was really wondering what the future would be like for the federal and state healthcare exchanges. I never fathomed that there would be so many problems and that our national leaders would be immersed in so much debate and scrutiny because of the technological challenges the websites were having. It reminds me of my time with another employer at the end of 1999, the verge of the new millennium in an electronic age. Remember when the sky was going to fall and everything that was plugged in was going to blow up or at least reset itself when the calendar switched to 01/01/01?

Thankfully Y2K came and went and nothing really happened. Millions of dollars were spent in preparation of potential failures but outside the monetary loss, nothing happened. That was 13 years ago. Now we need to get these healthcare exchange sites fully operational for traffic and commerce. The deadline for enrolling for healthcare is December 15th. The state sites are getting by a little better than the federal site but all of this is one big ugly mess. So why are the sites having so much difficulty considering they have had three years to test and QA? Glitches, problems, system failures…these are all dreadful words we hate to tell our customers when our technology isn’t working. Americans are depending on this.

At VIA, we translate websites all the time. We deal with tight deadlines everyday and 99% of the time we do not disappoint. We work with the technological teams and do thorough testing to make sure it works in all the languages that have been localized. Personally, I’m having hard time empathizing. I think the sites had enough time to be ready.

I read that the California site had 100,000 enrollments. Oregon enrolled 50,000 and New York 30,000. So it’s not all doom and gloom.

I really hope they can get their websites functioning easily in the next few weeks and before the New Year. I don’t have the patience to see America’s new healthcare plan for everyone suffer like this.

One more reason your content marketing might be an epic fail

I came across an article titled “5 Reasons Your Content Marketing May Be an Epic Fail” that Katrina Denk posted in the Healthcare Marketing group I’m a member of on LinkedIn and thought it made some good points. Content marketing is all the rage these days, but there’s definitely a line between good content marketing and not so good content marketing.

To Katrina’s point, it’s important to make sure your content delivery and style are not “holding back its full potential.”  To wit, I would contend there is one more reason your content might be failing… it’s not in the right language.

Nearly 55 million people — about one in five U.S. residents — speak a language other than English at home. This is especially important for healthcare marketers because almost half of limited English proficient (LEP) population reported low health literacy, which may carry greater health risks according to NCBI.

For these people, bridging the language gap is essential to accessing healthcare. We’ve tried to take the uncertainty out of addressing language access challenges for written and web-based communications for you in our guide Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare.