Tag Archive for Healthcare

Are your Healthcare Communications Reaching your LEP Patients?

The need for language and cultural services in the U.S. is estimated to grow

More than 23 million U.S. residents report having Limited English Proficiency (LEP), and changes to healthcare reform under the Obama administration and Affordable Care Act will increase the demand for language and cultural services in the U.S. to support a growing pool of patients eligible for care. As a result, services specializing in language and culture are in demand and are estimated to grow 12 percent per year.

Engaging and retaining clients, complying with legislation and enabling language access, can be complicated and expensive. Industry research firm, Common Sense Advisory, calculates that that the worldwide language-services business was worth $34 billion in 2012. VIA is dedicated to providing the industry with value-add services such as automated workflow, cultural assessment and free education for its customers. For example in 2012, we added a new service option that allows us to offer a full set of web and mobile training solutions to support the unique needs of the healthcare industry.
Find out more about how VIA can help you reduce costs and meet language access mandates through enhanced centralized translation approach.

What are you doing in 2013 to properly care for your LEP clients?

The Importance of Cultural Competence in Healthcare

We just recently presented a webinar on this topic. After the webinar, I received a call from a colleague who shared a story –An older Navajo man was terminally ill, and the family wanted to take him home to die. Unfortunately, the discharge process took too long, and as the man was dying, his nephew broke the hospital window to “allow his uncle’s spirit to escape,” the staff later learned.

Cultural awareness is so valuable because the provider-patient relationship is built on trust. Sometimes a lack of cultural sensitivity or competencies can lead to incorrect assumptions that can have a negative impact on patient care.

Therefore, it is key for health care provider success to understand the unique needs of cultural differences among their patients. In order to provide comprehensive and effective medical care, one must realize how people make decisions and choices about their health care needs based on their cultural background and beliefs.

The Joint Commission has a good “road map” for starting out – http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/aroadmapforhospitalsfinalversion727.pdf

The U.S. minority population (currently at 30%) is expected to exceed 50% before 2050. No other advanced, populous country will see such diversity. The United States is a racially and ethnically diverse country that yes, brings challenges, but also presents many opportunities. I’m thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New survey of online tools provides insight to medical marketers

Talk to a marketer these days and chances are good that the issue of social media will come up. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube continue to change the way we communicate. Some have even compared the transformative nature of these technologies to that of the Gutenberg printing press.

Not surprisingly, medical marketers have also turned to these new technologies as a means for connecting with their specific patient populations. What is not always clear is which of these vehicles is most effective and why.

A recent Acsys Interactive survey sought to provide some insight on those questions, and the results were revealing. Consider, for example, that about 33 percent of the 101 participants from hospitals and healthcare systems see online videos as being a very effective means of achieving their marketing objectives. But barely half that number can say the same for Twitter.

According to the survey, among large hospital respondents some 15 percent of communications is currently conducted via online tools. But that is a number those same respondents expect to grow to 40 percent by 2013. For small and medium-sized hospitals (fewer than 401 beds) the numbers were 3 percent and 28 percent, respectively, both sizable jumps.

The growth of such tools seems unavoidable, and their potential benefits only limited by one’s imagination. The challenge is finding the right mix for your organization and then developing a strategy for your audiences based not on guesses, but on a sound, clear understanding of their preferences and behavior.

Till next time,

New geolocation tools a potential new opportunity for healthcare

Healthcare is currently looking at how it might use another of the myriad new tools being ushered in by the digital technology revolution. Referred to generally as “geolocation,” these tools include names like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Google Places, and give users the ability to “check in” with friends to let them know where they are.

Geolocation is made possible by mobile applications that work with your smartphone’s GPS system. Developed originally as a means for friends to alert each other of their whereabouts, it is now also being used to share instant reviews and news about different locations, be it a restaurant or a clinic waiting room.

The sites also often allow users to post their location to other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, some companies have sought to use this functionality as a means for offering discounts or incentives.

The question facing many in healthcare is does this technology make sense for them. There are HIPAA concerns to consider. But the service could give healthcare organizations a new way to share targeted health information. For example, some pharmacies are using the applications to promote services such as flu shots.

In another example, the Kaiser Family Foundation partnered with Foursquare and MTV for an STD awareness campaign. It encouraged people to follow MTV on Foursquare, check in after getting tested, and shout “GYT” (Get Yourself Tested) to their followers. Participants were then entered to win a trip for two to New York City and backstage passes to MTV’s 10 on Top.

Today, the opportunities are only limited by one’s imagination.

Till next time,

Imagine, now your mobile phone could tell you if you have an STD

In a recent post on the Foreign Exchange blog, company president Andres Heuberger provides a roundup of how medical translation has changed over the past 12 years. He points to four principal drivers: regulations, technology, globalization, and measurable quality.

I was reminded last week of the dramatic role the second piece, technology, has had and continues to have on healthcare and medical translation. Consider this recent example: In a story in the British newspaper The Guardian, it was reported that a new test could soon enable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to be diagnosed using your mobile phone or computer.

True. The innovation, which is hoped will cut the rising rate of STIs in the UK, will operate much like pregnancy testing kits. People simply place a urine or saliva sample onto a computer chip about the size of a typical USB drive and then plug that into their phone or computer. They then receive a diagnosis, identifying whether they’ve contracted one of a range of STIs—and informing them where to go for treatment.

The devices are based on nanotechnology and microfluidics, and are expected to be sold for as little as 50p to £1 (about 80¢ to US$1.50). Like condoms, they are likely to be available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and nightclub and bar vending machines.

Though no mention is made of the language in which the diagnosis is delivered, it seems reasonable to guess that a product of such potentially great benefits won’t be adapted for users of numerous languages. Viva la technology.

Till next time,

Can Accountable Care Organizations deliver low-cost, high-quality care?

If you are a healthcare professional, you have likely heard of “accountable care organizations” or “ACOs.” If not, here are the basics of this key piece of the healthcare legislation.

Today, most hospitals and doctors work independently, which some claim can drive up costs and compromise quality. ACOs were conceived to promote coordination and cooperation among providers with the intention of boosting the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries and cutting costs.

It works like this: Your organization is paid to cover the cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries in a given area, and if you are able to meet quality and cost-saving targets, you earn financial rewards for doing so. It’s an idea that grew out of research conducted by Dr. Elliot Fisher as part of his Dartmouth Atlas Project, a 30-year investigation into the variations in care across the country.

A few healthcare systems around the country are already exploring the possible benefits of ACOs, including two competing hospitals in Omaha, Nebr., and a large hospital system and health insurer in Louisville, Ky.

While shared savings programs and ACOs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries are an important parts of the new health reform law, antikickback laws, antitrust laws, and other federal rules are proving a challenge as government agencies seek to write the rules for ACOs.

The legislation calls for ACOs to roll out by January 1, 2012. To learn more about ACOs and which organizations are eligible, check out the Q&A from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Till next time,

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,

Third edition of ‘Best Practices for Healthcare” now available

Healthcare professionals have an astonishing amount on their plate these days. With evolving regulatory requirements, emerging technology, and the ever-present considerations of cost and risk, it is little wonder that some find it a challenge to also meet their medical translation goals.

After more than a decade working in the industry, including partnering with some 400 healthcare organizations across the U.S., we’ve learned a bit about how best to tackle this difficult enterprise. We’ve taken that knowledge and distilled it down into a handy, easy-to-use guide.

Called “Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare,” the guide outlines a range of best practices, offers some time-tested tips, shares a few success stories from other healthcare organizations, and points you to valuable translation resources to explore, all with the intention of helping you achieve your medical translation objectives.

We know from working with many of you that each organization has different needs. Some of you might just be beginning to address language access issues, while others could be looking for new ideas and maybe even a dose of encouragement. No matter where you fall, our hope is that you will find something helpful in its pages.

This is our third—and we hope most useful—edition of “Beyond Translation,” and as always we’re making it available to any and all for free. So, if you would like a copy, simply visit the registration page and let us know. You can download it right there, or we’re happy to send you a copy.

Good health!

The Hispanic population is changing. Is your healthcare translation keeping up?

Much has been written about the increasing size and importance of the Hispanic community in the U.S. Long a consideration among forward-thinking healthcare organizations in the U.S. Southwest, the rapid growth of these communities is today a demographic consideration for other regions as well.

According to Felipe Korzenny, author of the Marketing Trends in a New Multicultural Society blog and founder of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, the Hispanic audience is continuing to grow, and in one very important way for multicultural marketers.

Once a population driven largely by immigration, the US Bureau of the Census points out that today’s U.S. Hispanic audience is increasingly the product of U.S. births. The census reports that the older segment of the Hispanic population is 53 percent foreign born, but among those under 18 years of age more than 90 percent are now born in the U.S.

Such a shift dramatically affects how we communicate with this audience. As U.S.-born Hispanic patients, they will have a different relationship with the U.S. and with the U. S. healthcare system than those born elsewhere. How, what, and where we communicate must reflect those differences.

Only when central questions of this kind have been addressed can we hope to grow with this increasingly important audience. To see a table of the demographic shift, see Korzenny’s post.

Good health!

5 tips to help you create an effective YouTube channel

Last week we explored how health care, and particularly pharma, is attempting to use YouTube to reach its audiences. As noted, most unfortunately rely on a, as Mark Senak called it in his blog Eye on FDA, a “if you build it, they will come” approach that fails to demonstrate company buy-in and so falls short when it comes to attracting an audience.

Here, then, are a few tips for creating an effective YouTube channel:

Identify your audience.
This will depend on the nature of your organization and who you want the channel to reach. Possibilities include patients, doctors, prospective employees, investors, etc.

Establish connections.
Follow, subscribe to, and participate with other channels. Let third parties embed your video so it can be shared and seen, which should, after all, be your goal.

Drive traffic.
Treat your channel the way you do your website. Include the link in signature lines on emails, add it collateral, promote it on your website and at conferences and industry events. If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account, alert those communities when a new video goes up.

Provide worthwhile content.
What does your audience want to see or learn about? Take that as your mission. A channel that is merely a repository of all of your video assets is unlikely to gain any traction.

Build community
Many health care channels ignore the commentary and ratings functionality on YouTube. This is unfortunate as you want to create both authenticity and community around your channel, goals made all the more difficult by not giving viewers a chance to participate.

Video is an increasingly popular way to tell your story, and YouTube is a fantastic venue for reaching your audience. Do it well and it could prove a useful, powerful resource in your multicultural marketing toolkit.

Good health!