The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly impacted the healthcare industry over the past 6 years. And while the fate of the ACA is unknown, it's safe to say that value-based care – a model that promotes quality, affordability and accessibility – is here to stay.
This shift from a reimbursement system once based on quantity of services provided, to one based on quality of care, means medical outcomes and patient satisfaction now play into your facility's bottom line.
Today, health systems have to work harder than ever to keep patients healthy and happy, even long after they’ve been discharged. And this initiative doesn’t get any easier when a language barrier is present, which is why language access is so important to your health system’s success, both financially and holistically.
What is language access?
As it currently stands, health systems that receive Federal funding or participate in the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces are required to provide language access for individuals with limited English proficiency. Language access means offering language support, like medical interpreters and translated documents, so limited-English speakers can still access, and benefit from, a wide range of health services.
More than 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home. That’s over 20% of the population, or one in five people. The limited-English-speaking population is the fastest-growing market in the country, so the number of patients who require language access at your facility will continue to rise.
Language access dictates outcomes and satisfaction.
Language access regulations were put in place for a good reason: to provide better care for patients, and make healthcare services available to everyone. When your staff can effectively communicate with your limited-English-speaking patients, they can provide better, more efficient care for all, which leads to improved patient experience, better medical outcomes, and ultimately, better Medicare reimbursements for your facility.
- Whether it’s a language barrier, a cultural misunderstanding or a patient’s lack of health literacy, ineffective communication hinders a limited-English patient’s ability to understand aftercare instructions and make appropriate decisions about health and medical care – e.g., recognize and respond to symptoms, follow up with their doctor, manage medications and engage in preventive care. Poor patient-provider communication can compromise the entire continuum of care.
- Serious academic research also tells us the importance of communication, stating that “effective communication is recognized as a priority across the healthcare continuum because it directly affects quality of care, patient safety, medical outcomes and patient satisfaction.” Without the breakdown of language barriers and healthcare terminology, poor medical outcomes will continue to persist, and patients will continue to be dissatisfied with their care, penalizing your facility's reimbursements.
Language services improve patient-provider communication.
Breaking down language barriers is one of the major ways your facility will see a positive change in medical outcomes and patient satisfaction. To effectively break down language barriers, you need a language services provider on your side to help you better communicate with your patients throughout the entire patient lifecycle. Be sure your language services provider can best support your facility and your limited-English patients by offering:
- The right technology: Find a vendor who unifies your language services across your entire health system and ensures you have all the language support hardware you need.
- The right linguists: Find a vendor who uses smart, skills-based call routing to connect you to qualified medical interpreters who understand 1) the nuances of language dialects and 2) medical terminology.
- The right data: Find a vendor who provides live insights into critical language services data so you can better support the specific languages and cultures of your community.
When’s the last time you took a serious look at your current language services partner? If it’s been a few years, you might be putting your patients and your bottom line at risk with outdated, disconnected support.
Language Support Made Easy
Our user-friendly portal, GLOBO HQ?, combines technology, data and qualified linguists to provide you with the reliable, unified language services your health system deserves. Schedule a demo to learn how you can improve language access, and ultimately your bottom line, with unified language services.