Tag Archive for cultural diversity health care

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

Health reform must include language and culture awareness to succeed

Among its many goals, health reform in the U.S. is seeking to ensure that Hispanics, a historically underserved population, have greater access to health insurance. But as is so often the case when dealing with non-English-speaking communities, failure to address mitigating cultural considerations can undermine the prospect of otherwise well-meaning efforts.

For today’s reform to truly benefit those it intends to serve among the Hispanic population, steps must be taken to ensure that such offerings are clearly understood. Such programs can be a challenge for English-speaking audiences familiar with insurance and how it works. The same is likely to be doubly true of Hispanics, especially those more recently arrived in the country.

Questions as fundamental as what the program offers, who is eligible, and how to enroll must be filtered through a keen understanding of Spanish and the broader Hispanic culture. Even the tagline of the program can be a stumbling block, as Regence discovered. When the line “Together we can take charge” failed to resonate,” further exploration among Hispanics led to the modification “Juntos podemos” or “Together we can.” This line proved to be more culturally meaningful.

There are other issues to bear in mind as health reform proceeds. The most challenging may be fear. Concerned about possible impact on immigration status, Hispanics are often reluctant to participate in government-sponsored programs. A sensitivity to this obstacle must be included in the development of messaging and materials.

Much work has gone into developing a healthcare system that addresses those who have heretofore been excluded or at the very least overlooked. Now that we are attempting to resolve these stubborn issues it would be tragic, both for the work already done and for those who stand to benefit, if we failed to address the necessary language and culture issues as well.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative putting grant to work to benefit LEP communities

The ability for healthcare organizations to reach healthcare goals has perhaps never been more complex or more challenging. But the reality is that the need to meet those goals has likely never been more critical, especially among limited English proficiency (LEP) communities.

The viaLanguage Healthcare Translation Grant Program is one way we hope to help. The grant reflects our desire to spotlight and support those innovative healthcare organizations that are finding a way to improve access for today’s underserved, ethnic audiences.

Our 2010 grant recipient, the Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative in California, is a prime example. After conducting a baseline assessment of the uninsured in Alameda County in 2009, they concluded that the biggest finding was how challenging it was to gather information, especially amongst the smaller limited-scope providers.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative collaborated with a range of partners to develop a website that provides a comprehensive list of clinics, including both free and community clinics, an explanation of the different types of services they offer, and the processes patients must go through to get an appointment with a doctor.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative applied its $5,000 of in-kind translation services to the translation of the website into Spanish and Chinese, proving along the way that today’s most pressing healthcare challenges can be overcome. We applaud and congratulate them. Click here to read the entire case study about this project.

U.S. government makes pledge to address health needs of minority groups

If you’re a member of a minority group in the U.S., chances are good that your healthcare, and consequently your health, are worse than that of the rest of the population. This includes everything from higher infant mortality rates to a greater likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and asthma to a shorter life expectancy.

In response, the U.S. government recently announced a first-of-its-kind plan focused on righting the imbalance and bringing parity to healthcare and healthcare access. It addresses the role to be played by doctors, federal health officials, and communities at large, and includes a wide spectrum of health-related objectives, including the following:

  • Increase by 10 percent the number of poor children who receive preventive dental care.
  • Hire local community health workers to help diabetics.
  • Enlist “promotoras,” the name given to community health workers who work with Spanish speakers.
  • Develop incentives to improve care for minority groups.
  • Conduct new studies regarding which treatments work best for minority groups.
  • Create a national online database of certified interpreters that doctors or hospitals can use for non-English-speaking patients.
  • Create state grants to measure and improve care for asthma.

The report also asserts that the funds to finance the multifaceted program would come from existing sources and so is not contingent upon current budget wrangling, which is good.

A promising declaration of purpose, the plan could surely have a beneficial impact in these needy communities. We look forward to seeing what happens from here.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Independent healthcare plan helping innovate in Minnesota

These days the issue of healthcare too often tends to devolve into a fractious back and forth about healthcare reform. Unfortunately, this means that all the great and innovative work so many healthcare professionals are doing to better serve patients can be overlooked.

I’m glad that as a part of the work we do at viaLanguage I get to be in regular contact with a great many of these innovators. UCare and its efforts with the Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) is just one example.

An independent non-profit health plan, (and a viaLanguage client!), UCare provides healthcare and administrative services to more than 160,000 members. It partners with healthcare providers, counties, and community organizations to create and deliver innovative health coverage products addressing a variety of Medicare, special needs plans, and state public programs members.

Part of UCare’s efforts includes offering incentives to clinics and care systems that deliver improved quality of care. This means rewarding providers serving Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in MHCP, and expanding pay for performance (P4P) to include providers serving Medicare members.

What’s more, UCare’s MHCP P4P Plan and Medicare P4P Plan reward providers that show, within certain identified areas, any improvement over the previous year. It analyzes member health outcomes, while identifying those areas where improvement incentives are warranted. In 2009, UCare made P4P payments to 60 percent of the eligible care systems serving MHCP members.

It’s stories like this that inspire the industry to continue think creatively about meeting patient needs. And that can be powerful indeed. To learn more, check out the full UCare case study.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Recent studies conclude that race impacts cancer care

A series of recent studies reveals some alarming realities about apparent inequities in healthcare access among different races in the U.S. The investigations addressed cancer care specifically, looking into how racial factors, in addition to financial influences, impact diagnosis, treatment and survival.

In one report conducted at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, it was determined that race played a larger role than insurance in a woman’s getting a timely breast cancer diagnosis.

Of the almost 1,000 women examined, the study found that white women with private insurance waited on average almost 16 days between testing and diagnosis, while privately insured black women waited more than 27 days and Hispanics more than 51 days. The numbers are even more disparate when you get to women on Medicare/Medicaid (11.9, 39.4, and 70.8 days respectively) and uninsured women (44.5, 59.7, and 66.5 days, respectively).

The research team, surprised at the results, concluded that the current barriers, especially those faced by black and Hispanic women, and by extension, we assume, non-white women generally, deserve additional study.

One of those barriers has already been identified and is not surprising to multicultural marketers: cultural differences. We can predict as well that lurking just behind that heading reside the myriad challenges attendant to embracing and overcoming linguistic and language differences.

For more on the studies and what they found, check out the HealthDay story.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters launches registry

Anyone who has faced the challenge of visiting a hospital in a non-English-speaking country knows both how frustrating and how frightening it can be. When there is any impediment to the healthcare professional’s ability to discuss your situation and options or your own ability to ask questions, the likelihood of receiving the care you need is compromised, sometimes dangerously.

Ensuring that communication is not a job for the untrained or the inexperienced; the risks are obvious. To help promote patient access and safety, the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters recently took an important step forward by launching its National Registry of Certified Medical Interpreters.

The registry is a searchable database of medical translators who have passed the board’s oral and written examinations. Interpreters can be searched by a range of criteria, including city, credentials, language, and state, among other details. And if you are a healthcare organization or employer, you can do so for free.

The move is part of a larger effort by the board to promote greater patient safety. Starting in October 2009, the board initiated the exams, with successful applicants earning their Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) designation. To date, approximately 300 interpreters have either completed the exams or are in the process of doing so.

The principal responsibility of healthcare organizations is the health of the patients they serve. The CMI certification and registry mark a significant advancement in that effort, alerting both the industry and those who rely on it that experience and training are central to effective medical translation. Learn more about the CMI designation in the board’s press release.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Informative resources shine light on the challenges of medical translation

Translation is more than exchanging one set of words for another. As anyone who has worked with translation or translators knows, it depends on the language, the culture, the communication vehicle, and a host of other important details. It is also impacted greatly by the industry for which the translation is being done.

For a variety of reasons, medical translation may pose the greatest number of challenges for the uninitiated language services professional. From the use of obscure medical terminology to the risk to patients if translations are not absolutely accurate, medical translation requires a special knowledge and understanding.

If you are considering joining the industry, or perhaps you work with medical translators and want a window into the work they do, Medical Translation Step by Step by Vicent Montalt and Maria Gonzalez Davis offers a clear and effective study of the discipline.

Published by St. Jerome Publishing, the 250-page book offers a comprehensive and practical look at medical translation, exploring a range of important issues, including medical writing, translation practice, and exploration of different methods for learning.

For another perspective, visit Sarah Dillon’s There’s something about translation blog and her interview with Andrew Bell. Bell, who operates AAA Scandinavian Translation and specializes in medical/pharmaceutical translation services, shares his experience working in the field.

It’s good for all of us to appreciate that what we do is important. And it’s good for those who call on our services to remember that translation is more than a simple exchange of words, especially when it comes to people’s health.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

How to translate working with communities into giving back to them

At viaLanguage, we like to believe that at its heart medical translation, and in fact all translation, is really about building community. That’s what effective communication makes possible. So, I guess you could say we sort of have a community-minded focus just by virtue of the work we do.

Looking at it this way, it makes sense that we would feel a natural desire to give back. And I wanted to take this post to formally applaud all the people at viaLanguage, and beyond, who find the time and make the effort to do that during the year. Cheers to all of you!

Are you looking for some philanthropic ideas for your company? Here are few organizations and efforts we support:

Humane Society – viaLanguage donates one paid day to each employee to support their favorite non-profit. The company also offers an annual team volunteer opportunity. This year it’s the Humane Society—because pets are also part of the community!
Operation Cornbread – viaLanguage supports Sisters of the Road Café in Portland, Ore., as part of that organization’s annual matching program, Operation Cornbread, which keeps food coming to the needy during the peak summer months.
• Annual Translation Grants – We offer in-kind translation grants for organizations reaching out to limited English proficient (LEP) communities, both Healthcare and K12.
Heifer International – We provide annual support to a needy family by purchasing and donating a cow. Learn more about this unique program in an earlier post.

As the Oregon Lottery once said, though I paraphrase, “Your odds of winning are 550,000 to one—significantly higher than if you don’t play.” And it’s the same with making a difference. Act and you can help.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage