Tips about Healthcare Translations and Legal Compliance
First, there are of course the legal reasons why certain healthcare communications must be translated.
- Affordable Care Act Section 1001 mandates healthcare translations. Section 1001 of the Affordable Care Act mandates that health insurance companies and group health plans use language that is linguistically and culturally appropriate when communicating with insurance enrollees. In order to make insurance more comprehensible for all, Section 1001 states that the language used must be understandable by the “average plan enrollee.”
- Section 1557 Mandates healthcare translations for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). By extension of existing Language Access Laws already in place, any healthcare provider that is looking to provide services to Medicare or Medicaid recipients are tasked with planning the provision of language access services. Read about how your organization needs help with developing a Language Access plan for Section 1557.
- Marketing of your medical product internationally requires translation of content. If you want to expand internationally and sell your product on the global market, you are going to need to translate that collateral that you produce in order to achieve the ROI you expect on the International market. To communicate effectively in those markets, you need the confidence that the translation is both relevant to the consumer or patient, backed by industry professionals that know what works and may not work. Doing it right the first time in a highly regulated industry starts with picking the right team for the job.
- Patient awareness with LEP patients in the U.S. calls for healthcare translations of content. Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients are more apt to read the materials created for awareness when they are in their native language. This may include the website to introduce a new drug or the brochure designed for that drug along with awareness material on the disease. Putting that information into the patient’s language gives them greater control over understanding their condition and the treatment options available. Consider that pharmaceutical companies do healthcare translations for diverse ethnic communities here in the U.S.
Tips about healthcare translations and evaluating services
Here are 5 quick things to keep in mind for evaluating Healthcare Translation Services
- Define your criteria that you will use to determine the right partner for healthcare translations. Use that criteria to evaluate the relationship as you go along and look for areas where both of you can provide input on growth and improvement. If your language service provider is a true partner, they will make the process transparent for your team and find areas where your team can improve to save costs and create greater efficiencies. If your relationship with your current partner leaves you frustrated and disappointed, it’s not too late to find a new partner. Be sure to ask for your Translation Memories, final design files and all assets that your previous partner held for you when you make the switch.
- Ask about qualifications. Not every translation provider is an expert in the Healthcare industry. Healthcare terminology and health concepts can easily confuse readers into making wrong decisions. Seek a partnership with an organization that understands the challenges in bringing understanding to drive patient behavior. Look for an organization with dedicated teams of professional translators specialized (and active!) in the healthcare industry. Especially in the United States, knowledge and consistency of healthcare terminology is limited in other languages.
- Think of the content that you create in other languages as your assets. Engage your partner actively to help you build those assets with glossaries of terminology and Translation Memories. Make sure those assets are shared. If you are at a certain point in the Global communication maturity model, perhaps it’s time to make an investment in Translation Memory technology so that you can use it on your end with your team to leverage past repetitive translations and save greater costs and allow you to go into more markets or produce more content.
- Set up your review process and determine what your controls will be. Seek a partner that can advise and provide you with explanations and process suggestions. The review process has to fit your team and time frames so seek a partner that can be flexible with that and deliver what you need considering that they are realistic time frames.
- Expect that you will need excellent project management from your partner. This does not come with an individual translator or two translators. Their job is to focus on the writing aspect, research of terminology, building assets and proofing. Project management is at the heart of a translation firm. Understand the different levels of project management that are out there. Are you better with a single point of contact rather than a changing stable of project managers that don’t retain the knowledge of your projects? Understand that there are preparation strategies, version control and workflow strategies and don’t be afraid to ask for individual KPIs on part of your project managers.
In addition to working in healthcare translation, we provide more services to our clients that compliment this specialization. Our goal each year is to develop programs and research streams where we can support our clients and be the partner they need to move the patient to better health outcomes. Let’s have a talk about where you are and what you are looking for in a partner or what you wish you had. Contact us to start the conversation.