Tag Archive for HIPAA

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,

Looking for an LSP? Here are a few things to consider.

We’ve talked a bit in the past about what to look for when searching for or reviewing a language service provider (LSP). It’s an important decision as whoever you select will play an important role in how – and how effectively – you communicate with your patients.

While a mistranslated ad or piece of website copy for a company can discourage a sale, the same error with healthcare materials can have very real impact on the patient’s health, not to mention the costly settlements that can follow. So, it is critical to make the right choice.

For example, the agency should be familiar with government policy and regulatory compliance, including JCAHO, Title VI and HIPAA. Not only does contribute to a greater assurance that your materials will comply in all languages, but it enables the LSP to serve as not just a vendor, but as your communications partner.

Ask the LSP if they’re familiar with the following kinds of documents, all of which are likely to figure in your healthcare translation:

• Hospital release and consent forms
• Handbooks and patient education materials
• Patient billing and instruction
• Medical and immunization records
• Marketing materials
• Web sites
• Benefit summaries
• EOC documents

If they’re not, remember that your LSP, whoever it is, will be an important part of your patients’ healthcare team.

Good health!