Re-posted from our Translating in Plain Language Blog on Thursday, August 1, 2013:
Healthcare engagement is a hot topic in the healthcare industry. Healthcare communications become more personal and topics in healthcare marketing are more focused to specific needs of members. We’ve looked at our services and defined how these services can can connect stakeholders in healthcare to achieve better health outcomes. Healthcare Translations are one our main areas of expertise and one of our 4 blog categories which we research.
Better healthcare outcomes: Health Literacy and Plain Language Writing
Helping to drive behavior in patients from the thinking stage, to the action stage.
Health Literacy writing and design has proven to benefit low literacy populations to take action and drive behavior. However, health literacy strategies are designed to benefit anyone who wants to access health information.
We see that Health Literacy Writing as a core competency of being able to provide healthcare related communications that will drive better health outcomes:
- Plain Language / Grade level (re)writing is used for Medicare and Medicaid communications and provides information using terms that can be understood.
- Health Literacy Design employs about 300 design rules to not only organize information for better engagement (not to distract), but it also looks at the use and intent of images to showcase behavior.
- Health Literacy Writing uses techniques to separate the nice-to-know from the need-to-know.
Health Literacy Writing employs many strategies designed for the demographic of the intended audience, using risk assessments from trials and literature to write about the issues and needs in a way that engages the patient to take appropriate action.
Empowering patients with information: Accurate and relevant translations
Helping foreign language speaking patients’ understanding of healthcare related information.
One example of how we help patient understanding is to assess their access to healthcare information and how this influences the translation. A good example is access to drug information. While a Spanish speaking patient may be more familiar with Spanish drug labels and names, those members who live in the US will have to be knowledgeable about the drugs and ingredients in English as well. Keeping the patient in mind and their environment by providing bilingual translations can provide more meaningful information that a patient can use.
The foreign language speaking population in the US is quite diverse. Even among Hispanics, you will find that not only are there regional language differences, there are also generational differences between first generation Spanish speaking persons and second generation Spanish speaking persons. Their healthcare experiences can vary quite differently between generations.
Taking into account your target audience when translating documents means that you should take into account the healthcare experience of that population and what information they may be familiar with, but also the information that may help them to access healthcare and health information in the United States.
Some examples that we have written about to illustrate this is our blog on the Multicultural Meal plate. Many different immigrant populations here in the U.S., have different risk factors for becoming diabetic and the meal plate is one tool that can be customized to illustrate that for patients.
We write in Plain Language for English copy and provide health literacy research for our clients who have ethnic member populations so that they can localize their English content. We provide healthcare translation services in multiple languages as well. Give us a call if you want your healthcare communications to have positive outcomes.