<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5257384&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;"> LanguageLine Blog | Medical Interpretation

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Does Your Staff Need Medical Interpreter Certification?

Posted by Ana Catalina Gonzalez Siax on February 15, 2019

When it comes to health care, quality medical interpreting can have a profound impact on patient outcomes.

Using professional interpreters reduces the risk to patients and enhances their health literacy, which in turn empowers patients to be proactive and experience better outcomes. Medical interpreting is a specialization with the field, as it requires a command of terminology and concepts.

A 2015 study in the journal Medical Care assessed the accuracy of medical interpretation during 32 primary care visits and found errors were twice as likely to occur when physicians used untrained interpreters compared to professional interpreters.

Nearly 7 percent of those errors could have had significant medical consequences, such as giving an incorrect drug dosage or inaccurately describing the patient’s symptoms.

By using medical interpreter certification as a standard process to qualify interpreters,  you can ensure you’re providing meaningful language access for your patients. This enables your organization to comply with federal laws while also improving patient experience and outcomes. Additionally, it allows your organization to justify pay increases to bilingual employees and improves their own professional development.

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LINER NOTES: Four Steps to Improve Depression Care for Multicultural Communities

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on January 28, 2019

Multicultural patients face multiple barriers to receiving care for depression such as scant referral options.

A Virginia-based health center's quality improvement project was able to significantly improve depression care for a vulnerable multicultural population, research shows.

Annual societal costs associated with depression are estimated at $210 billion, and depression is the top cause of disability globally. For minority, immigrant, or refugee patients, cultural factors often impede depression treatment.

"Improving depression screening should lead to measurable outcomes for those who screen positive, including referral to mental health specialists, prescription of appropriate medications, and perhaps most importantly, scheduling of follow-up appointments to monitor signs and symptoms of depression," said Ann Schaeffer of the Harrisonburg Community Health Center.

"There are multiple barriers. These include clinics not prepared with screening tools in multiple languages; providers not culturally aware of the stigma attached to depression; lack of provider confidence in client engagement; and few referral options for multicultural populations."

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LINER NOTES: Harvard Report Says Language, Cultural Competency Are Keys to Competitive Healthcare Market

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on January 22, 2019

The increasingly competitive healthcare market is facing the problem of balancing the need to deliver good clinical outcomes with demands for patient satisfaction. Patients and families are increasingly taking the initiative in steering their healthcare experiences.

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LINER NOTES: Why Interpreters ‘Make Really Lousy Spies’

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on January 14, 2019

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Eight Steps Medicare Plans Can Take to Enroll More Limited-English Speakers

Posted by Mike McMahon on October 1, 2018

This year’s open-enrollment period for Medicare will run from October 15 through December 7. Studies show that a large number of Medicare enrollees are considered limited English proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English “less than very well” and are entitled to assistance.

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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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