Bridging The Healthcare Literacy Language Gap


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With an economic impact of nearly $73 billion annually, the cost of healthcare illiteracy places a heavy burden on public agencies, healthcare providers and U.S. taxpayers. This problem impacts human health and contributes to spiraling healthcare costs. View our recent webinar exploring how viaLanguage helped Northwestern Memorial Hospital address its health literacy needs.Learn how your organization can meet these challenges and the strategies you can employ to diminish the language barriers that prevail between you and those you serve

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Bridging The Healthcare Literacy Language Gap

  1. 1. Bridging the Healthcare Literacy Language Gap – Key Strategies for 2010
  2. 2. Agenda 1. Introductions 2. Meeting the Challenges of Health Literacy 3. Best Practices in Translating for LEP 4. Avoiding Pitfalls of Mass Translation 5. Closing - Q & A
  3. 3. Your Presenters Magdalyn Covitz Patyk, MS, RN, BC • Manager of Patient & Family Education at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. • Currently a consulting editor for Patient Education Management • Focus on patient education systems/resources and oversees outpatient perinatal education classes Chanin Ballance, viaLanguage, President and CEO • Co-founder, President and CEO of viaLanguage • She frequently speaks about multicultural marketing and global language translation • Published in industry publications like iMedia Connection, Inside Healthcare, Healthcare Market Advisor and many more Moderator: Scott Herber, viaLanguage Executive Vice President • Manages viaLanguage’s Sales Channels • 24 years experience in technology and software management • Focus on communications in the Enterprise and healthcare markets
  4. 4. Introduction to Health Literacy Introduction to Health Literacy
  5. 5. Challenge of Health Literacy • Not new • Personal health • Economic inefficiencies
  6. 6. What is Health Literacy? The ability to understand and use health information to make healthcare decisions and follow treatment instructions. •Medical Consents •Preps for tests and procedures •Hospital discharge instructions
  7. 7. Who is Our Target Audience? Target Audience Includes: • Limited English Proficiency • English- primary language, low literacy • Sophisticated healthcare consumer
  8. 8. Impacts to Cost of Care • Healthcare expenditures higher for those in the lowest 20% of literacy (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2003) • Low functional literacy resulted in an estimated $32 to $58 billion in additional health care costs. (Center for Health Care Strategies, 2005.) • Patients with inadequate literacy are twice as likely to be hospitalized as those with adequate literacy — (32% vs. 15%). (Journal of General Internal Medicine, 1998) (Center for Health Care Strategies, 2005)
  9. 9. How to Measure Readability Readability Formulas • Fry-best for health-related teaching materials • Flesch Reading Ease & Flesch-Kincaid Grade level (MS Word) • Others: – SMOG – Gunning Fog – Fog Readability Test • Multilingual Formulas – Huerta Reading Ease
  10. 10. Meeting the Challenges Introduction to Health Literacy
  11. 11. Meeting the Challenges-Tips Use these Four (4) Steps to Effective Patient Education 1. Assessment (barriers to learning, knowledge base) 2. Planning (what, when, how) 3. Implementation • Strategies • Communication skills 4. Evaluation of education intervention
  12. 12. Key Components • Involve S/O • Compensate for/ address barriers to learning • Address patient concerns first • Contract learning objectives, mutual goal setting • Provide clear, direct and focused messaging • Take advantage of the “teachable moments” • Evaluate learn through: – Teach-back method – Problem-center approach
  13. 13. Best Practices - Translating for LEP Introduction to Health Literacy
  14. 14. Translation for LEP • Identify language and culture • Provide reference information in the patient’s primary language • Work with professional translators; Native speakers with medical subject matter expertise.
  15. 15. Ensure Consistency • Primary Tools = Glossary and Style Guides
  16. 16. Why Translation Memory • Ensures consistent use and reuse of approved terms at target readability level
  17. 17. Pilot & Community Review • Glossary Development: select booklet that contains phrases frequently found in other documents - TURP • Community Testing: 50 page Transplant Booklet with native speaker
  18. 18. Avoiding Pitfalls of Mass Translation Introduction to Health Literacy
  19. 19. What do you really Need? Assessment • Does it need to be translated? • What is the priority? • Can the content be – Abbreviated or shortened? – Replaced with pictures?
  20. 20. Organize • Develop comprehensive spread sheet • Finalize content • Indentify : – Translation company files requirements – Source of the final desk-top publishing – Deliverable file needs- high & low resolution files- hard copy or print on – demand • Naming of files
  21. 21. Example - File Structure
  22. 22. Avoid Costly Redesign • In Design not Quark • Fewer Fonts • Make sure a QA of final is included
  23. 23. Recycle Your Translation • Set up Translation Memory in advance • Prioritize large batches if you can and centralize **Saves Time, Money and Improves Consistency
  24. 24. Resources • The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning • National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Office of Communication • Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) Resources on healthcare for racially/ethnically diverse populations • Family PACT • Health Literacy Introductory Kit
  25. 25. Contact Us Blog: Email: