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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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Why Pharmacies Need Language Access

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 18, 2018

Like physicians, pharmacies play an important role in empowering patients to take charge of their health

Unfortunately, language barriers often make it more difficult for non-English-speaking customers to ask important questions about their medication, take it as directed, and be aware of potential side effects.

As pharmacies serve increasingly diverse populations, language access is becoming more important than ever.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that one in five Americans (65 million people) speaks a language other than English at home. Just over of 40 percent of these individuals is considered Limited English Proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English “less than very well” and are entitled to assistance. This LEP group constitutes about nine percent of the total U.S. population.

Language barriers can pose serious health risks to LEP customers. Research has shown that those with little knowledge of English often do not have a good understanding of their medication instructions.

Here are a few ways language access can help pharmacists empower their customers.

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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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Does Your Interpreter Training Program Have These Essentials?

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on February 23, 2018

Whether you have bilingual employees or use interpreters in your contact center, they are an extension of your organization—for better or for worse.

How confident are you that they are communicating clearly to your customers?

There are only two ways to know for sure: Be fluent in multiple languages yourself, or ensure your in-house interpreters have been tested and properly trained.

Whether you have an interpreter training program in place now or are looking to implement one, be sure it includes these five essential elements.

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Study: Patients and Physicians Don't Speak the Same Language

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on October 27, 2017

It is no secret that physicians sometimes struggle to explain medical terminology to their patients. Imagine how insurmountable this challenge must feel when doctor and patient literally speak different languages.

According to a new study, a significant gap exists in America between patients’ languages and the languages doctors speak. The study also suggests that health care organizations are not doing all they are required to when it comes to providing meaningful language access to patients who are limited English proficient (LEP).

Fortunately, near-term remedies exist that can meaningfully diminish these language barriers between doctors and multicultural patients.

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How Marketers Are Using Language to Attract Multicultural Consumers

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on October 19, 2017

Driven by population growth and expanding buying power, multicultural consumers are transforming the ways marketers and advertisers use culture to connect with increasingly diverse consumer markets.  For businesses, this is why investments made now in language will pay off for decades to come.

Between 1990 and 2014, according to Nielsen, multicultural buying power increased from $661 billion to $3.4 trillion, and it will only continue to grow. Because the median age of the multicultural population is lower and the life expectancy longer than those of non-Hispanic whites, these consumers have significantly more effective years of buying power ahead of them.

We’ve already talked about why language services are critical to the future of retail, as well as how language services in retail can create the sort of personalized, experiential shopping environment that multicultural consumers are seeking these days.

 But no matter how wonderful your store’s shopping experience and customer service are, they’re only effective once someone is in the store. Let’s talk about how retailers are using language to market to multicultural consumers.

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