Language and Healthcare: how does it link?

The healthcare sector is a large, complex part of the economy. With constant innovations and technology developments such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Robotics, the healthcare industry is consistently undergoing rapid transformations, as well as in conjunction with new healthcare acts and reforms.

Communication barriers are highly prominent throughout the world, including in the US with 25 million (7.6% of the current US population) speaking limited English.

Receiving appropriate healthcare, treatment and access to essential services becomes a major problem when a language barrier is present, highlighting the critical role of language services within the industry and it’s ever-growing need.

This can be anything from hospitals, doctors, rehabilitation centres, clinics and mental health services.

Medical translators and interpreters are involved with every step of the healthcare process – from initial consultations through to procedures and aftercare. They have an immense impact, which often goes unnoticed. The work from medical translators can really influence the type and length of treatment or aftercare that a patient receives.

For example, studies have found that patients in paediatric care on average can stay approximately 60% longer when their parents are not completely fluent in the English language.  Professional medical interpreters can communication in a situation that is sensitive and frustrating which can help the patient’s length of stay. A shorter length of stay is not only highly relieving for a patient, but also frees up valuable space, time, and supplies for the healthcare organization.

Without professional language providers present to facilitate communication between a healthcare provider and patient, it is also likely that errors (such as a misunderstanding of diagnoses or aftercare instructions) could occur. This could be detrimental to the patient’s health, in a potentially life changing situation.

With over 40 years’ experience and a large network of professional medical linguists, thebigword has a thorough understanding of the healthcare industry, including its specialist terminology and highly professional requirements. Get in touch and see how we can help you today.