Our Story

“We began specializing in healthcare translations about 15 years ago. Back in 2008, there was also a lot of interest in Plain Language writing as an initiative to improve English Healthcare Communications with health plan members and meet the guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid to make communications more understandable and written at a 6th grade level…

Healthcare Translations

Healthcare translations are one of our main areas of expertise in foreign language translation. Our Health Literacy Division for Plain language English writing and Health Literacy Design makes us unique in our industry to offer both Healthcare Translations as well as English writing. The benefit for you: we understand healthcare communications and the content life cycle from English to another language. We understand the strategies in writing to move the patient to action for better health.

Training and Awareness

Language Solutions provides Healthcare Communications Training and Awareness around several topics, including Cultural Competency, Plain Language writing, and health literacy awareness. We also train for Patient Empathy using the Teach-Back Method. Each training is customized to the needs of the organization…

Health Literacy Writing and Design

We have been involved in Plain Language and Health Literacy for healthcare communications since 2008.  Working in English content allows us to be involved in the whole content life-cycle and development of materials. It gives us the insight to be part of shaping the content to achieve specific objectives and for our translators to fully understand the strategies that are used in the source English writing…

Healthcare Communications

Positively affecting Healthcare Outcomes through Health Literacy and Healthcare Translations

Melissa Wurst

Melissa Wurst

President and CEO

“We began specializing in healthcare translations about 15 years ago. Back in 2008, there was also a lot of interest in Plain Language writing as an initiative to improve English Healthcare Communications with health plan members to meet the guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid to make communications more understandable and written at a 6th grade level. This was 2 years before the Plain Language Act was signed into Law by President  Obama.  The CDC, NIH and other government agencies had been using plain language strategies and promoting health literacy strategies well before this time.  

It started with a request from one of our largest clients with whom we were already providing healthcare translations  and given our agility as a smaller company, we delved in to meet their needs. Given my personal background as a teacher of ESL for 12 years, I was already aware of literacy strategies and testing documents for readability but I needed the experts to mentor us on the research, the statistics, the success stories and the motivations to move patients to better health. When we started with Health Literacy, we were mentored by one of the industry’s leading experts in Health Literacy and we’re still partnering with them today.

Melissa Wurst, President of Language Solutions, is actively involved in outcomes for the patient.  She currently is the Co-Chair of the Patient Family Advisory Council of Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis and is on the Steering Committee of a PCORI funded project to improve hospital outcomes and identify the top research questions with the i-Hope survey.

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healthcare translations logohealth literacy logo for healthcare translationstraining and awareness logo for health literacy iniatives

1. Healthcare Translations

healthcare translations logo

Culturally Competent Communications for the Healthcare Industry

Health Plans

We work in 40 languages for your diverse member populations.  For healthcare, each state and health plan has different member needs and languages is one of those needs as well as requirements.  Medicare Part C health plans and Part D sponsors are required to translate their materials into any non-English language that is the primary language of at least 5 percent of the individuals in a plan benefit package service area. In addition to healhcare translations, we also serve health plans with Braille conversion. Are you getting ready for Open Enrollment?  We can help you with the Medicare Part C and D model materials provided by CMS.  Any health plan is free to develop their own healthcare translations as well per CMS guidelines.  Our priority with clients will be on creating healthcare translation assets for your organization so that updates to those documents every year can be leveraged with your existing translations using Translation Memory.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers

We understand the time requirements for drug recall letters, member communications, and disease management material.  PBMs benefit by having a dedicated Language Service Provider that can maintain their style guides, healthcare translation assets with Translation Memory and Glossaries of terminology so that your members receive consistent communication and your brand is not diluted

” …. To me, it shows you care about details and the outcome of the translation.  You’re thinking about things that we wouldn’t or didn’t think about and could cause issues further down the road.”

Annette

Advisor, CVS Caremark

Benefit Consultants

Employee Benefit Communications contain a lot of information to help employees navigate through complex healthcare decisions during open enrollment. Consistency in terminology is vital to help employees understand concepts that may not be familiar to them, such as deductibles, maximum-out-of-pocket and coinsurance. Not only do our regular healthcare translators have years of experience in translating health insurance related materials in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and other languages, we also have done our own extensive research in Spanish terminology based on publications by health plans and major insurance agencies. Nothing is more confusing when open enrollment materials are inconsistent with plan documents and our terminology management process helps to ensure consistency throughout.

Pharmaceutical Agencies and Clients

Our teams regularly work on drug marketing brochures, patient education materials, websites, Important Safety Information and Prescription information and clinical trials protocol.  Our technology and asset management skills allow us to provide consistent translations to protect your brand and guarantee accuracy.  We realize the risk that comes with these types of communications.  We regularly comply with regulations and directives that are associated with clinical trials and other strictly regulated protocols.  Your dedicated and localization certified project manager will be a consistent lead over your project and keep you informed, adhere to the guidelines and your specific requirements. Many pharmaceutical clients also want to set up a process with Back Translation of the original translation.  We manage this process for you and present it in a Word table with the translation, back translation and original source content for you to easily review and comment on.  We also run our own reconciliation process before it comes to you so that we have had the healthcare translations revised so that they are more accurate to the source, considering the literalness of content like ISI. We realize that choosing a language service provider is about trust.

Have I told you lately that I love working with you? You always do great work for us and we appreciate it. Kris

Express Scripts

Quality Standards in Healthcare

Our dedication to quality is ingrained in our organization with our commitment to continuous process improvement with Baldrige for Performance Excellence.  Our certification of ISO 9001:2008 became a tool in our toolbox for quality and we constantly are working on tools for our client’s success. Our focus on the client is a core philosophy of our company where YOU become the priority.

Our Quality Standards for Healthcare Translations:

  • ISO 9001:2008 Certified Translations
  • WCAG and 508 compliant for Braille
  • HIPAA Certified as a Business Associate
  • BEP Certified for Illinois Healthplans
  • Medically Certified Interpreting  Services

Outcomes for Healthcare Communications

Our expertise in the Healthcare communications Industry has allowed us to help managed care organizations communicate more effectively with their foreign language speaking member base, as well as their low literacy population. Effective communication can help healthcare organizations overcome the most prominent healthcare challenges that exist today:

  • Drug adherence
  • Government grade level regulations for Medicare / Medicaid
  • Drug recall letter directions
  • Disease management

Healthcare Outcomes

Our expertise in the Healthcare communications Industry has allowed us to help managed care organizations communicate more effectively with their foreign language speaking member base, as well as their low literacy population. Effective communication can help healthcare organizations overcome the most prominent healthcare challenges that exist today:

  • Drug adherence
  • Government grade level regulations for Medicare / Medicaid
  • Drug recall letter directions
  • Disease management

We understand the rigor and stringent guidelines on regulatory information.  With terminology management and asset management using Translation Memory, we use technology in our industry to ensure consistency in translation of repetitive content and to ensure that it is accurate. Our teams specialize in pharmaceutical translation and are trained in our processes for efficiency and quality. One of our core competencies is team selection of linguists for the client.  We select one of our regular teams that best fits the requirements of your project.  That team can also interface with your internal reviewer in a structured process we have that makes it easy for the reviewer and engages their trust, maintains version control of documentation and allows for your language assets to be maintained and updated.  We routinely work on the following:

  • Clinical Trial Protocols
  • Pharmaceutical brochures
  • Safety Information
  • Patient Information Leaflets
  • Research articles
A Study in healthcare terminology cover imageThis white paper is prepared for professionals in the healthcare communication industry, translation industry and benefit consultants. In preparation of the new Open Enrollment season, we looked at the state of healthcare terminology for the Hispanic population. Our paper highlights the issues in healthcare terminology, what it means for the industry and what could be done to improve it. Read our Whitepaper here

Urgent Care

We offer Urgent Care for a 1 day turnaround for healthcare translations of a Drug Recall letter.  We regularly work on patient education programs, brochures, websites and call center scripts.  We understand that PBMs want to have control of their messaging with the clients they serve and it is in their benefit to control the healthcare translated communications that have their name on it.  In addition to regular healthcare translations for PBMs, we also do English Plain Language Writing of member communications.  Medicaid and Medicare both require different readability scores and most of our clients don’t have the internal resources to regularly rewrite their communications to adhere to these regulations.  Because of our focus on the whole content lifecycle from English to other languages, we are confident that we can be the right fit for your organization for healthcare translations.

2. Health Literacy Writing and Design

Taking the Patient from the Reactive to the Active Stage in managing their care

Health Literacy and Design

We have been involved in Plain Language and Health Literacy for healthcare communications since 2008.  This was a natural evolution of our services to include this since one of our main areas of expertise has been in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical foreign language translations.

Working in English content allows us to be involved in the whole content lifecycle and development of materials.  It gives us the insight to be part of shaping the content to achieve specific objectives and for our translators to fully understand the strategies that are used in the source English writing. This also allowed us to serve another client need as the demand for these services has grown. Our Health Literacy Division has expert writers in the field with over 25 years of experience.  Let us share that expertise with you.

  • We offer Health Literacy Writing for below 6th grade levels, implementing adult learning theories, cultural strategies and a variety of motivational techniques to keep the reader engaged and move them to action.
  • We can also help with Health Literacy Design of books, pamphlets, brochures and web sites. There are over 200 rules in effective Health Literacy design to follow.  This includes line lengths, font choices, colors and images.  The choice of images in a book is an art in itself. You want images that truly represent your target audience and are not generic images taken from a subscription based site that you may see in many other publications. You want your readers to see themselves.  Our books below are all award winners.

healthcare translation

Health Literacy Samples:

Plain Language Writing

Plain language is not health literacy. It is a technique for communicating clearly and a tool for improving health literacy. Even though everyone may struggle to understand health information at times, the concept of “health literacy” recognizes that most health information is even more challenging for people with limited literacy skills. Language that is plain to one set of readers may not be plain to others. It goes without saying that you need to know your audience and involve your audience when crafting your communications. Tailoring the communication to meet their learning needs will improve outcomes. You need to know their demographics, behavior, culture, attitude , literacy levels, language, socioeconomic status and access to services.

BEFORE/AFTER

BEFORE (9th grade)

AFTER (6th grade)

Grade Level Testing

Medicare and Medicaid requirements vary per state on grade level requirements as well as the acceptable methods for assessing readability.

Read more about:

Readability in English – We use the Flesch Kincaid method for English Rewriting along with considerations towards names, numbers and variable data. Readability in Spanish – Readability in Spanish is not measured equally. Find out how we approach Plain Language readability in Spanish and the preferred method for testing.

Image of Fry Readability Graph

Fry Readability Graph

Plain Language Strategies:

There are many strategies in plain language writing and it takes time, experience and a lot of practice.  The first step is awareness that your communications need to be clear.  We always say “you need to strip the nice to know from the need to know.” Below is a Before and After letter in healthcare communications written in Plain language .  What differences do you notice about the letters?  Which one would you rather receive?

 

What does good Health Literacy Design look like?

3. Training and Awareness

Training and Awareness for health literacy logo

Advocate for Health Literacy in your organization

Health Literacy Awareness Trainings / Workshops

Training staff will increase awareness of the need for addressing health literacy and improve their skills for communicating with the public. Just beginning your initiative or have new groups for professional development?  Our presentations and workshops engage staff with the knowledge of “why” health literacy is important and strategies to address it at your organization.  Learn the basics behind Plain Language Writing, Medicaid/Medicare requirements for readability, steps to implement in your organization. Need your writers to become advocates for plain language?  Interested in forming a committee so that you can follow the Plain Language Act?  Give us a call and let’s discuss what will work best for your needs.
This training was phenomenal – one of the most helpful sessions I’ve attended in a LONG time! Great session!! Loved it! Participant Express Scripts

Health Literacy Literature

Resources for you to download and read:

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Teach Back Training for in-person workshops or webinars for phone representatives

A unique proprietary curriculum developed with our partner, Jann Keenan, on an educational approach to prompt behavior change for interactions between staff and their customers. Our approach to adult learning and retention principles is evidence-based. We incorporate pre-work, an interactive learning webinar, post webinar support once your employees are practicing in the field and the option of onsite training for continued sustainability. We are experienced in securing CME/CEU credits for a myriad of health professionals. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs in accrediting the webinars for continuing education units. Our on-line training program highlights :

  1. The teach-back method using our unique approach and validated techniques
  2. Empathy awareness
  3. Phone etiquette using plain language approaches

Our team is made of:

  • clear health communication and health literacy experts
  • a skilled instructional designer
  • certified health educators
  • seasoned eLearning curricula creators
  • organizational consultants on business strategy and metrics
  • experienced master trainers and meeting facilitators
  • a creative director and graphic designer trained in plain language design

Innovation - Baldrige Performance Excellence

Our organization has been involved in Baldrige initiatives and we’ve been fortunate to be selected as Baldrige examiners for healthcare applicants (Learn more about Baldrige standards for Healthcare Organizations). Our experience with Baldrige and our ISO 9001:2008 Certification makes us a better partner for you in Healthcare.

Healthcare Communications Blog

Health Disparities and Adherence Infographic

Health Disparities and Medication Adherence are directly affected by providing Culturally Competent Care. Healthcare Translation Services play a big role in this care as healthcare communications provide a bridge between the patient and the healthcare provider. As...

Culturally competent care affects adherence

In our work with healthcare translations and health literacy awareness trainings, we consider culture as part of the language and see how culturally competent care affects adherence.  Culture is a way of living, thinking, and behaving. Culture includes many...

A Study on Healthcare Terminology

Download our White Paper on healthcare terminology This white paper on healthcare terminology used by health plans is prepared for professionals in the healthcare communication industry, translation industry and benefit consultants. In preparation of the new Open...