Of the U.S. residents who are finding themselves able to access healthcare for the first time under the Affordable Care Act, a considerable percentage speak Spanish at home–10.2 million Spanish-speaking residents who were previously uninsured are expected to enter the healthcare market in the coming years.
Unfortunately, this exposes a weakness in the nation’s healthcare providers: a lack of personnel who can converse effectively in Spanish. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, there were only 105 Spanish-speaking physicians for every 100,000 Hispanic patients.
This creates obstacles across the spectrum of healthcare. There is, of course, an increased chance of poor care due to miscommunication. This can include improper drug dosages, increased need for testing, more hospitalization, and an inability to combat preventable diseases for which Hispanic people are more at-risk, such as obesity and diabetes.
This bottleneck also puts a strain on those Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals, increasing wait times and decreasing available resources, driving costs up for everyone.
There is also a cultural disconnect. A large part of effective healthcare is building relationships between providers and their patients. Healthcare interactions that we may view as commonplace can be foreign to these new patients and they may need extra help navigating our complicated system.
The solution is education, and now there is a way to provide Spanish language skills in a targeted and efficient manner.
Rosetta Stone® Advanced Spanish for Healthcare offers personalized content, training, tutoring, and evaluation tools that were designed in partnership with one of the nation’s leading healthcare provider networks. Healthcare professionals can have access to the skills most needed for them to address this growing need in their workplaces. Not only is medical terminology and procedures covered, but also typical provider/patient interactions that increase rapport and improve “bedside manner”.
This is a prime example of the ability of language to truly affect lives for the better, improve professional practice, and benefit entire communities.