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Open Enrollment is Coming. Here Are Six Things Insurers Can Do to Improve Communication with Non-English Speakers

Posted by Cory Markert on September 19, 2018

Healthcare Open Enrollment Period is coming soon. Starting Nov. 1, plans participating in the Health Insurance Marketplace will be flooded with inquiries. Agents are no doubt readying themselves for questions in every shape and form. 

But are they prepared to field these same questions in a variety of languages?

This is an altogether different matter – one that has a great deal to do with providing an ideal customer experience and reaching a previously underserved market.

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Language Training for Medical Staff Can Keep Health Care from Getting Lost in Translation

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 13, 2018

A non-English-speaking mother-to-be arrives at a hospital to give birth, unaware that her pregnancy is high-risk. The clinic where she had her pre-natal appointments did not use professional interpreters. Instead the clinic relied on the serious news being conveyed by the woman’s sister-in-law, who did not have the heart to explain the diagnosis. The woman is told at the hospital that her child will not make it.

A 9-year-old Vietnamese girl arrives at the emergency room with what appears to be a severe stomach flu. The girls’ parents do not speak English. Instead of using a professional interpreter, hospital staff instead speaks only to the girl and her 16-year-old brother about her prescription, sending them home with instructions that the girl should return if she experiences specific side effects. The girl ends up having a negative reaction to the drug. She suffers a heart attack and dies.

These real-life outcomes seem as if they should have happened in days gone by. Sadly, these events took place recently. Even worse, they are not uncommon despite readily available on-demand language services.

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CASE STUDY: Rural Colorado Medical Center Uses Grant Funds to Purchase Interpreter on Wheels

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on May 9, 2018

Yampa Valley Medical Center (YVMC) in Steamboat Springs, CO, is a 39-bed acute-care hospital that provides sophisticated medical services to more than 51,000 outpatients annually. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the region is a popular vacation destination, which adds to the challenge of serving the rural area’s diverse language needs.

“We have 16 different languages used in 2017 at the hospital,” said Erica Gallagher, manager of language services at Yampa Valley Medical Center. “Our highest frequency languages are Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.

“When you first encounter someone that speaks a language other than the one you speak, you may feel like you can communicate decently, and that’s OK. But the more you have experience with it, you come to realize that, even if one word is misinterpreted, the outcome could be fatal or at the very least, have really negative consequences for the patient.”

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How Community Health Centers Can Get Quick Access to a Language Interpreter

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on March 15, 2018

You care for patients at a community health center. You see many patients each day and strive to deliver the very best treatment.

Your center serves not only Spanish-speaking families, but recently many Vietnamese are coming in for services.  You understand the basics of the language but are far from fluent—certainly not enough to have in-depth conversations about their health concerns.

Communicating effectively and efficiently with all your patients is a high priority, not only to deliver the appropriate care, but also for better health outcomes and patient satisfaction.

What if you had reliable, on-demand, easy to access qualified language interpreters anytime you needed them?

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