The Hispanic population has continued to grow and makes up a large fraction of the smallest communities that are found in the United States. Its rapid growth has presented many challenges for the health care sector. Over the past decades, the increasing diversity and the number of limited English speakers, including the Hispanics, has led to increased pressure on both healthcare systems and the clinicians to ensure that limited English speakers are treated equally. There are clear federal mandates that emphasize language rights when it comes to healthcare, which are applied at both the federal and state level, and recent legal developments now address the issues of language barrier.
According to Erika J. Rickard, Esq., Access to Justice Coordinator, Massachusetts Trial Court, “The Massachusetts State legislature made it very clear that the goal of language access is to provide the broadest possible protection for the rights of non-English speaking persons to understand and be understood”. Her assertion shows that the law prioritizes the need to ensure that non-English speaking individuals are afforded the right to equal and meaningful access to justice, which also applies to healthcare. Translation of healthcare documents and texts in this case is deemed necessary in order to help all people to correctly understand the message that is being conveyed, which will aid them to make informed medical choices.
Medical English to Spanish Translation
The Importance of eHealth in line with improving communication among providers and patients cannot be over-emphasized. The internet has become a valuable avenue, which is used by health care organizations to disseminate information. Internet users have in turn turned to web resources for research, communication and information. Hospital websites are without a doubt becoming an industry standard, however, they need to be more relevant and useful to eHealth.
Hospital websites should factor in the ethnic and cultural diversity of the community in which the institution is based or the target audience when it comes to the provision of information. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the U.S., Hispanics make up roughly 15.1% of the whole population which translates to 46.7 million people. In August 2008, the population was expected to rise with the projection that one in three residents in the U.S. will be Hispanic by the year 2050. These statistics shows that the Hispanics are an important demographic that should be taken into account by healthcare agencies and organizations.
Websites should be designed to meet the needs of the Hispanic population. The parties involved have to consider cultural and linguistic barriers that negatively affect health care access. Governmental initiatives like the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, have taken into account the role of linguistic and cultural communication barriers in regards to patient-provider transactions. What can be deduced from an analysis of the situation is that linguistic and cultural barriers have to be addressed in the case of the online relationship between the minority group served and hospitals. Translation is pegged as one of the key aspects that can help address some of the issues realized.
An increasing number of Healthcare providers have embraced the need for medical translation, which covers medical English to Spanish translation, translation of healthcare documents, and medical term translation. The organizations have in turn translated healthcare websites, patient information, and forms from English to Spanish. These measures have been effective because they have improved eHealth, and the healthcare industry in general. Thus any organization that has a stake in the healthcare field should consider the use of healthcare translation services to ensure that proper care is provided and the customers whom they serve will understand the services that they receive.