Hello – I am Laura Bartlett from the National Library of Medicine talking to you today about the NLM resource HealthReach.
Hello, I’m Michael Honch, collection manager for HealthReach.
HealthReach is a free database of health information translated in many languages, available in multiple formats. It’s from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
At https://healthreach.nlm.nih.gov, you can find low literacy, culturally relevant materials on health conditions and wellness topics that you can share with clients who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.
With the input of our partner organizations, we assemble a diverse collection of materials developed by hospitals, clinics, health departments, community health centers, voluntary organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and national non-governmental organizations who provide a wide range of health services to clients with limited-English proficiency, or LEP.
In the U.S. Census American Community Survey, anyone above the age of 5 who reported speaking English less than “very well” is considered LEP.
Since they may not be able to communicate effectively in English, LEP individuals may not have meaningful access to services, activities, and programs available to proficient English speakers. People with both LEP and low health literacy are at high risk for poor health.
To ensure that the resources on HealthReach are accurate, we interview the authoring organizations and collect key information about their process of developing materials in translation.
As of July 2018, there are 725 patient health resources which are translated into 5980 documents, 981 audio recordings, and 983 videos.
71% of the collection is made up of documents. 15% of the collection are audio recordings, and 15% videos.
Every document on HealthReach has an English equivalent. The database currently includes 60 languages.
This is an example of the resource “What Is Addiction?” in English and Burmese
To ensure that we have accurate information about the resources on HealthReach, we interview the authoring organizations about their process of developing materials in translation.
Authors contact us through the HealthReach page about their interest in adding their materials to our database
We send the authors a spreadsheet for them to fill out which contains all of the metadata we need to collect to complete the material record. We also set up a telephone interview so we can discuss the material, how it was created, how it was tested, and other questions about the metadata. These interviews can last 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the numbers of materials and the author’s explanation. We find many authors want to share the story of the material’s creation and testing with us.
After this process we add the material to HealthReach, including all of the metadata. Not all data we collect is made public – we keep it for reference. We have extensive scope notes that detail the creation and testing of materials that we do not share.
This is a sample entry from the form that we use while conducting phone interviews with authors. Metadata collected and scope notes are in red.
On our spreadsheet we ask many metadata points, but these are identified as most important by our users:
How translations were performed?
Was there participation by language-speaking community?
Was the material developed in English and then translated in other languages, or was the material created in a non-English language then translator to other languages?
Was the material reviewed by a medical professional? And when was this review performed?
Type in the blank
Has drop down fields for standard response questions
We retain a copy of this spreadsheet for our records. This spreadsheet is also assist us when we contact the author 12-18 months after material is corrected to ensure our records are complete, and the material is still up to date.
Units of measurement
HealthReach (https://healthreach.nlm.nih.gov/) by Laura Laura Bartlett and Michael Honch
Health Information in Many Languages
from the National Library of Medicine
Laura Bartlett, MLS
Technical Information Specialist
Outreach and Special Populations Branch, NLM
Michael Honch, MLS
ICF, supporting NLM
Outreach and Special Populations Branch
A database of free
health information and
patient education materials
for those providing services
to individuals with limited
English proficiency (LEP)
HealthReach offers easy access to health
information that is
• Translated in multiple languages
• Culturally relevant to specific LEP communities
• Created and/or reviewed by medical professionals for
• Available as documents, audio recordings, and/or video
Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Individuals
• Do not speak English as
their primary language
• Have a limited ability to
read, speak, write, or
The HealthReach Collection, July 2018
• 5980 documents
• 981 audio recordings
• 983 videos
• English + 60
Collecting Resource Information
• Contact by email
• Given spreadsheet to fill out
• Interviews conducted by phone
• 30-45 minutes
• Verify information collected by email
• Data is added to HealthReach database
Capturing information collected during interview
Metadata collected from the spreadsheet
• How translations were performed
– Was a translation company hired?
– Were community members the translators?
• Participation by language-speaking community
– Were members of the community involved in resource development?
– Were members of the community involved in translation review?
• Development method
– Was the resource created in English and translated into other languages?
– Was it developed in a non-English language and translated into other
• Medical review
– Was the resource reviewed by a medical professional?
– When was the review performed?
Collecting standardized metadata in spreadsheet
How can EAHIL/HealthReach collaborate?
Inputs Activities Outputs Outcomes
outside of US
• Created in US
• EAHIL members
website and API
• Identify content from
• Conduct informational
• Collect metadata
• Curate metadata in
• Provide shared access
to materials via API
• Increased ability to
created in U.S. and
• Enhanced access to
collections via API
• Cost savings
• Access to collection
• Shared metadata
• Single repository for
Example: the cost of creating Arabic dialect audio
recordings with a sub-contractor:
Arabic, Levantine: $234.00 per document.
Arabic, Sudanese: $267.00 per document.
Total cost: $13,026 for 26 documents
A partnership would allow the collection to expand to audio
files in this language for “free”
Challenges to a
HealthReach / EAHIL partnership
• Medical standards
• Units of measurement
• Metadata requirements