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Why is it Important to Hire a Certified Medical Interpreter?

Why is it Important to Hire Certified Medical Translation Services?

Apart from English, the US is home to more than 170 other languages. Around 22 percent of the American population speak a language other than English at home. This comes around to a sizeable figure of nearly 62 million residents. It poses a serious challenge for a non-English speaker to get requisite and quality medical care if a language barrier exists between the patient and the medical care provider. 

Medical practitioners should have clear lines of communication with their patients. Miscommunication between these two parties can lead to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and inefficient care. This is why partnering with healthcare translation services becomes essential. 

Certified medical interpreters are trained to offer accurate and high-quality medical translation services. They open clear lines of communication between the doctors and non-native English-speaking patients leading to efficient medical diagnosis and high-quality care. This also greatly reduces the chances of doctor and hospital liabilities and the occurrence of medical malpractice suits. Have a look at some other benefits of hiring medical translation services for your medical establishment. 

1. Communication for Clear Comprehension

A skilled medical interpreter is certified only after undergoing extensive training. This ensures clear understanding and comprehension between the patient and the physician at every step of the patient’s healthcare journey. It vastly reduces the chances of misunderstandings and misdiagnoses, which can be detrimental to the health and well-being of the patients as well as to the reputation of the hospital. 

2. Accurate Medical Records and Histories

Accurate medical history and precise translation of current symptoms are essential for correct diagnosis. It becomes difficult to arrive at a correct diagnosis if there is a language barrier between the doctor and the patient. A certified medical translator is trained to interpret and translate specific medical terminologies in both languages. They will provide a highly accurate medical history, and interpret current symptoms to the doctor. They will also explain the treatment and other medical procedures to the patients and help both parties communicate clearly with each other. 

3. Increased Patient Safety & Reduced Physician and Hospital Liability

Without correct interpretation and proper diagnosis, your patient’s safety is on the line. Miscommunication leads to mistakes, that may cause irreversible harm to the patient and leave doctors and hospitals open to medical malpractice suits. The case of “Willie Ramirez” is the oft-quoted example. He was misdiagnosed due to the mistranslation of the Spanish word “intoxicado” to English. The original meaning of the word was “poisoned” which the medical caregivers interpreted as “intoxicated”. Due to this confusion, Willie Ramirez was misdiagnosed that left him a quadriplegic for life. His family won the medical malpractice suit and the hospital was ordered to pay $71 million in damages. In hindsight, hiring a certified medical interpreter would have prevented the confusion and the resultant unfortunate events that followed. 

Certified medical translators are essential to the modern-day medical establishments that cater to a diverse set of patients. These qualified translators ensure that both doctors and patients receive accurate information. This leads to clear communication, correct diagnosis, and proper care of the patient and reduced risk of multi-million dollar lawsuits. 

4. High Quality of Care and Improved Patient Satisfaction

Studies show that inadequate medical translation leads to lengthier inpatient stays and negative physical results in non-native English speakers. Hiring a certified medical interpreter virtually eliminates this possibility. It not only increases patient safety but also improves the quality of care patients receive. Certified medical translators ensure clear communication that leads to correct diagnosis and correct course of treatment. It reduces unnecessary tests and procedures and leads to better and quicker recovery of patients with less time required to recuperate in hospitals. Ultimately, this also results in highly satisfied patients appreciative of the treatment and care they received. 

5. Improved Operational Efficiency

By hiring a medical translation service, you can be sure that your patient’s information and medical histories will be accurate. It also ensures that there is clear two-way communication between the patient and doctor. This greatly improves operational efficiency every step of the way. From the initial step of patient intake to follow-up appointments, you are sure to get the correct information. Also, quick and clear interpretation eliminates any lag and wastage of valuable time that incidentally speeds up your schedule. Another advantage of hiring a certified medical interpreter is that they will be available 24/7 on-site or telephonically as per their contract.  

6. Compliance with Laws and Regulations

In the United States, it is mandatory by federal law to provide services of certified medical translators to all patients. It is illegal to deny linguistic support to patients who are not entirely competent in English. Patients have the right to protest if they do not get the services of a medical translator. Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, prohibits discrimination based on color, race, or national origin in any federally funded programs. This includes clinics and hospitals that accept federal grants, Medicare and Medicaid, and other federal funding. The National CLAS Standards, Joint Commission standards, Affordable Care Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act all require hospitals and clinics to provide all patients with equal care. Hiring certified medical translation services ensure you provide the same level of care to non-native English speakers and comply with all these laws and regulations.  

7. Boosts Your Reputation

Hiring healthcare translation services and providing accurate and effective medical translation services to your patients boosts your reputation in the medical fraternity as well as the local community. It demonstrates that you are dedicated to providing high-quality medical service to your patients regardless of their ethnic or cultural background. It promotes inclusivity and creates a conducive environment for healing.

Final Takeaway

Certified medical translation services make it easier for doctors and non-English speaking patients to communicate. Apart from hospitals, other medical practices like clinics, dentists, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, rehabilitation centers, and mental health clinics among others benefit from the medical translation services. Understanding and communicating in the same language as patients lead to favorable patient outcomes, and also demonstrates your willingness to be inclusive and help patients from different ethnicities, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds.  

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