If you are a healthcare professional, it goes without saying that you want to provide the best care possible for your patients. That involves a lot of effort on your part: ensuring that you and your staff are kept up-to-date on the latest medical advances and technology; enrolling in training courses whenever necessary and possible; making sure your patients are treated in a timely and courteous manner; and countless other tasks, all of which add up to providing the best quality services you can to your patients. But there is one important item that is missing from that list: translation services.

Chances are that there are many of your patients who are not native English speakers, and if those patients are having a difficult time understanding written or verbal instructions, the result can be that those patients receive a lower quality of service than patients without a language barrier. Effective communication is one of the best ways to improve the quality of the services you provide and, as it turns out, it requires relatively little effort on your part – it’s simply a matter of making sure that your documents and instructions are translated by an experienced linguist, and preferably one with experience in the medical industry.

The first step is to gather the documents that will need to be translated. While this list varies to a certain degree from practice to practice, what follows is a basic list that will apply to most medical practices, clinics, and hospitals:

Patient information and medical history forms

It’s impossible to get a complete picture of your patient’s medical history without this form. And it’s impossible for your non-English-speaking patient to complete it accurately if it’s not translated.

Consent forms

From consent-to-treat to consent-to-release information, your patients will need to understand what they’re consenting to. And you’ll need to have these forms completed to ensure the protection of you and your practice.

Instructions

Put simply, your patients need to understand your instructions, whatever they may be: fasting before a blood test, preparing ahead of time for a procedure, post-operative at-home recovery instructions, prescription drug use, etc.

Administrative paperwork

This includes a variety of paperwork needed by your front office: patient rights and responsibilities documents; appointment cards/reminders; financial responsibility waivers/insurance paperwork; policies regarding missed appointments, etc.

Communicating clearly with all your patients is just another way to ensure that you and your staff are providing the best quality healthcare possible to your patients and their families. And making sure that all important patient-related documents are clearly translated and signed by your patients will provide proof of your compliance and a level of protection for you and your practice that is vital in the highly regulated medical industry.