Tag Archive for healthcare translation

Would You Like to Win a Grant for Free Healthcare Translation?

We at VIA are excited to announce that our 2013 Translation Grant Program is officially open!

In case you didn’t know, our annual translation grant program awards a total of $3,000 of in-kind translation to two healthcare organizations and/or programs that support language access.

Just like our healthcare partners and customers, the VIA team is passionate about improving healthcare access for underserved, limited English proficiency (LEP) communities. We also feel strongly about giving back, so that’s why we have maintained our tradition of awarding translation grants to healthcare organizations that are actively working to decrease disparities and improve communication efforts with their LEP populations.

If this sounds like your organization, we welcome you to apply. The deadline for applications is September 28, 2013 and recipients will be selected by October 18, 2013. Click here to learn more and get the application.

Best of luck!

Bridging the Language Gap: A Key Piece to the New Healthcare Marketplace

As I previously mentioned, the upcoming open enrollment season will bring heaps of newly-eligible health consumers, many of whom do not speak English as their native tongue. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as many as one in four new consumers who will apply for health coverage in the new exchange will speak a language other than English in their home. Removing language barriers for LEP populations is a must for states and health insurance providers to truly ensure equal access to information and healthcare services.

With already so much to prepare for by October’s open enrollment date, those involved with the new health exchange may benefit from some quick tips and proven practices on how to best address their new LEP consumers. And fortunately, Families USA and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have developed a “Language Access Checklist for Marketplace Implementation”. This checklist provides a full set of recommendations on how to ensure LEP consumers can successfully enroll in, use and retain coverage. And for even more best practices on managing your multilingual healthcare communications as well as your budget, get your copy of our complimentary guide: Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare here.


‘Tis the Season to Start Planning for Open Enrollment

As a result of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the 2014 landscape, health plans are preparing their mandated documents such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) earlier than usual. The ANOC/EOC is a critical component of your plan as it provides details about coverage, costs and more. This may sound simple enough, but this year insurance plans need to take into account more than just earlier timelines. As a result of the recent reform, 12 million new customers and 11 million small businesses will flood the insurance market in January. Many of these new consumers will come from households that are not only more culturally and linguistically diverse, but that have never had health insurance before.

Navigating the new health exchanges and healthcare system is challenging enough for seasoned professionals, let alone for someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. And with October and the open enrollment period right around the corner, health plans will soon need to find new strategies to effectively communicate with their new and diverse customers. Bridging the language gap is essential to ensuring diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare, because true understanding happens when people can internalize the material in their native language. So whether it’s ANOC/EOC’s, SBC’s, or any of the other numerous communications your plan will soon be sending out, the key is to ensure that you are truly reaching your market in a meaningful, effective way.

Learn more about VIA’s ANOC/EOC translations and how your plan can save up to 20%.


Is Your Plan Ready for the Changing Face of Healthcare?

Not only are health plans facing reform, but as our population continues to diversify, language and cultural barriers continue to complicate matters. Health plans across the nation are preparing for what’s in store for the next two years. In order to succeed in this evolving environment, they need to reassess current strategies and find ways to turn challenges into new opportunities. The healthcare industry must redesign its business models to better capture, serve, and keep a growing class of empowered customers. Healthcare reform has brought more questions than answers, and there’s still much we don’t know. One thing that can certainly be said, however, is that the health plans of tomorrow will not be the same as today. Therefore it is vital they keep members informed, educated and engaged.

Join VIA on February 27 for our next healthcare translation webinar on 2013 Health Plan Preparedness. This complimentary event will highlight features of the health care law that pertain to language access, and will better equip health plans to serve their diverse members.

Attendees will also learn:

  • Trends around legislation, immigration and language populations
  • Prioritizing your budget for the greatest impact
  • Tips for managing content – from healthcare literacy, translation to cultural sensitivity
  • Using print, video and mobile to improve education and engagement

Time’s running out, so reserve your seat now and stay ahead of the curve!


Tips for Creating Readable Health Materials in any Language

To help increase readability, consider these 4 tips when creating healthcare materials in other languages.

1. Health materials should focus on key messages and what patients need to know. Best practices include:
• Write clearly and in an active voice.
• Use familiar vocabulary and simple terminology.
• Use short sentences.
• Use graphics, videos or pictures that “show” rather than “tell.”
• Keep materials at a fourth- to sixth-grade level.

2. Employ readability tools to analyze and ensure the proper literacy levels.
• Word processing applications such as Microsoft Word can automatically determine the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and readability ranking.
• Because readability formulas used in English can’t be applied to foreign language documents, professional translators should utilize various other language-specific assessment tests.
• For Spanish, consider the Huerta Readability formula (HRE), an assessment similar to the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test designed for analyzing texts in Spanish.

3. Health materials should be culturally relevant.
• Use images and examples that reflect the target audience. Pictures should display people of their own demographic rather than a generic stock photo of an “ethnic” person or family.
• If menu/food recommendations are included, they should reflect items that are relevant to that audience’s daily diet.
• Do not use slang or cultural references that may be unfamiliar to an immigrant or LEP population.
• Initiate a community review to test materials for comprehension and effectiveness.

4. Use professional linguists.
Materials should be translated by professional linguists and reviewed for grammatical inconsistencies and readability, important details that are beyond the capabilities of machine or computer-based translations.



November is National Native American Heritage Month

The Department of Health & Human Services announced the theme of this year’s National Native American Heritage Month yesterday – “Native Families Moving Ahead: Together We Strengthen Our Nations.” The focus is on continuing to build healthy families and communities.

At VIA we’re committed to furthering health literacy to help bridge healthcare disparities across all cultures and communities. Reading yesterday’s announcement, I was thrilled to see that IHS reported the Special Diabetes Program has done a tremendous job of fighting this disease by increasing awareness, preventive services and access to treatment in Tribal communities. Diabetes is one of the conditions where awareness and subsequent education and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for the millions affected. Historically, Native Americans and Alaska Natives have been more likely to die from diabetes than other racial and ethnic groups. Getting the word out about community access for programs like this is an extremely important step in reaching the goal of healthy communities.

Read more here on Kathleen Sebelius’ statement regarding this year’s theme: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/11/20121101a.html


VIA Awards Healthcare Grant

It’s with pleasure to announce this year’s Healthcare Translation Grant recipients. The VIA annual donation program is one of the ways that VIA gives back to the community each year. This grant awards $1500 of in-kind translation services to two, separate innovative healthcare organizations that that strive to improve healthcare access for underserved, limited English speaking (LEP) communities here in the U.S.

1. Washington Regional Medical Foundation

The Marshallese Translation Program at Washington Regional Medical Foundation is dedicated to serving the Marshallese community in Northwest Arkansas. With having served 846 Marshallese residents last year, it is the hope of this program to use the VIA grant in order to translate nursery discharge education materials and consent forms for treatment, blood transfusion and anesthesia. Iliana Rivera, Language Service Coordinator, says that, “we are very grateful to have been selected as the 2012 VIA Grant Program winner. Washington Regional is committed to providing equal and quality care to all regardless of any language barriers. This generous grant will help us immensely in providing much-needed Labor & Deliver discharge information and education to our Marshallese patients and their families.”

2. Providence Hospital’s Diabetes Education Program (in Washington D.C.)

Providence Hospital has created an outpatient Diabetes Education Program in order to provide understanding to those afflicted with diabetes in the District of Columbia. This program aims to reach members of its community who are at-risk to developing diabetes-related complications. With VIA’s grant, it is the goal of Providence Hospital to provide diabetes education materials to their Arabic, French, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, and Vietnamese communities in order to improve quality of life for all. “It is so meaningful and fulfilling to provide information regarding diabetes to our community. People are concerned and hungry for education and materials that they can read, understand and refer to on an ongoing basis,” says  Robin Martinez, Diabetes Nurse Specialist, Providence Hospital.

Thanks to the healthcare team and VIA for making this possible.

More soon,


Speaking Healthcare Blog is Back!

What better month to re-launch our blog than “health literacy” month?  Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. Since its inception in 1999, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of awareness-raising events taking place worldwide. Our hats off to Helen Osborne who founded this great effort!

At VIA, our mission is to improve healthcare access for under-served  Limited English Speaking (LEP) communities. Health literacy affects us all. In fact, research indicates that today’s health information is presented in ways that are simply unusable by most adults. In today’s rapidly changing environment, it so important to provide health information that effectively contributes to access, informed decisions, and improved outcomes. We can build our own health literacy skills and help others – community members, health professionals, and anyone else who communicates about health  – and build their skills, too.

We also like to recognize, celebrate and support organizations that are making a difference in the delivery of healthcare to those communities with Limited English Proficiency. That commitment was the genesis of our Healthcare Translation Grant Program, and remains its mission today. With that focus in mind, we were pleased to announce our 2012 grant recipients this week – Providence Hospital in the District of Columbia and Washington Regional Medical Foundation.  We are proud to assist these special non-profit organizations that are committed to improving the health of their communities.

Until next time,


Clinical trials turn to outsourcing, bringing new medical translation needs

As with so many industries in today’s globalized world, clinical research is increasingly electing to outsource its work to other countries, including China, India, Russia, and Brazil. By 2012, it expected that some 65 percent of FDA-regulated clinical trials conducted by major pharmaceutical companies will be outsourced.

What is driving the trend? Advantages include the following:
• Reduced operational costs
• Simplified recruitment
• Better access to large pools of qualified patients
• Positive patient attitudes toward clinical trials
• The growth in the spectrum of diseases in emerging countries that are also present in developed countries

As a result, non-U.S.-originated regulatory submissions account for an ever greater percentage of regulatory submissions. And related agencies are being forced to adapt. The FDA, for example, has set up formal offices in China and India to oversee this developing facet of clinical trial operations.

The challenges in the face of such a significant change in clinical research practice are many and significant. Regulatory differences, for example, remain a major hurdle as does ensuring that international ethical standards are followed.

Language and linguistic demands also figure at or near the top of the list. As with medical translation elsewhere in the industry, language, cultural, and socioeconomic factors must be considered. Insufficient attention to these critical details can severely undermine outsourcing efforts.

For this reason, the authors of a recent paper on the subject entitled “Language and Culture in Global Clinical Trials” recommend that those conducting trials establish a local presence; work with reputable partners; and seek out experienced language service providers.

Till next time,

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.