Everybody is suffering the economic effects of the Pandemic. Like the virus itself, the financial squeeze doesn’t discriminate. Large healthcare organizations and small practices are affected alike. Many providers have adapted by consolidating administrative resources, managing workflows and using telehealth platforms. The flow of patients has increased in the last two months, but it is not near what it was a year ago. Tapping into demographics that providers normally don’t serve can bring new patients to small practices and provide a new stream of revenue. Here we give you some ideas on how to reach out to non-English speaking communities and bridge the language barrier.
1. Check the Census Reporter to Understand the Demographics of Your Area
The Census Reporter includes the category “persons with language other than English spoken at home.” In the case of Tampa Bay, not surprisingly, Spanish is the second most spoken language at home. However, it is difficult to find a medical practice where Hispanic people feel comfortable in this area. They tend to visit the few practitioners that speak Spanish themselves and their options are very limited, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The truth is that you don’t need to speak Spanish or any other language to provide a good standard of care and have positive interactions with non-English speaking patients. You just need a good medical translation service.
Medical translation services can help you create documents which you can provide to non-English speakers upon arrival. This can help to put them at ease right away, even if a speaker of their language is not readily available. Having well-written healthcare translations of your materials can also help reach a broader audience since it’s unlikely you will be able to hire staff who speak the language of every community you serve. Language service companies that provide medical translation not only specialize in the accuracy of medical terminology in multiple languages, they tailor their healthcare translations to be culturally sensitive as well.
2. Use Social Media to Reach Out and Create Awareness
First, find out what the preferred platform is for your demographic. Facebook and other platforms allow for selecting the language of your target audience. Make sure the announcements describe your experience and show you are knowledgeable, approachable and have a friendly staff. Ads should use simple, compelling language written with impeccable grammar in the viewer’s language. This signals respect for the community. The medical translation service with which you work should have a thorough knowledge of all these topics.
3. Understand the Health-Related Cultural Beliefs of Your Target Demographic
How people perceive health, healing, illness, and wellness affect not only how they feel about their health problems, but also when and from whom they seek healthcare attention. It also affects how they respond and adhere to treatments. Disregarding cultural differences is in a sense ignoring the context that helps people understand their health status and comprehend options for diagnosis and treatment.
4.Translate Medical Questionnaires and Forms
Start the medical encounter on the right foot. Avoid miscommunications that can make it difficult to diagnose and provide the appropriate treatment plan for your patients. Questionnaires can be designed to avoid open questions. Well-crafted multiple-choice questions are straightforward and can make it easier for patients to provide you with necessary information. A good medical translation service can guide you through this process.
5.Get Language Support from a Virtual Interpreter
Remember that medical translation refers to written documents, whereas medical interpretation is spoken aloud, in the moment. Many telehealth platforms, like Blue Stream, are already HIPAA compliant and allow for a three-way call. You can easily add a certified healthcare interpreter to your call. There is no need to use expensive video remote interpreting services that are more suitable for large healthcare facilities.
5 Ideas to Help Medical Practices to Bring New Patients