The U.S. is often called the melting pot as it blends so many different cultures, languages, and ethnicities into its borders. In 2020, providers cannot afford to assume that their entire market/community is built of patients who speak English as their first language. It is estimated that over 40 million individuals in the United States speak Spanish as their first language. It is not only important that these individuals have access to medical care, but it is also important that they have access to quality medical care in a way they understand most easily. Receiving medical care in your first language increases patient interaction, patient engagement, patient satisfaction, as well as the overall quality of care your practice offers to the Spanish speaking community. Listed below are the advantages of a bilingual practice to both patients and providers.
Impact of a Bilingual Practice:
1) Improved Relationships
With improved communication between Spanish speaking patients and their providers, the relationship progresses. Even for patients receiving medical care in their first language, communicating with their physician can be frustrating as you consult, plan, and problem-solve their medical issues. This is even more true for the Spanish speaking community in the United States. It is that much more difficult to communicate symptoms and ailments when your physician only speaks English and that the physician does not have access to bilingual software to help the transition. The benefit of a bilingual practice is an improved patient-provider relationship achieved through simpler communication, resulting in better outcomes.
2) Better Quality of Care
While a bilingual practice impacts the relationship that Spanish speaking patients are able to have with their providers, they also impact the level and quality of care that providers are capable of offering. With a language barrier in place and no tools to break through it, communication is difficult. A provider’s ability to describe a treatment plan and instruct patients on how to stay on top of their personal health diminishes when that barrier is in place. Even if your providers are not all bilingual, with the right software in place, your team can print treatment plans in Spanish as well as offer a top-of-the-line patient portal. With the right tools, a bilingual practice can help their patients better understand their medical care.
3) Increase Your Patient Base
Once it is established that your practice offers top-of-the-line care to Spanish speaking patients, members of that previously mentioned 40 million individuals in the Spanish speaking community will start coming your way. Many Spanish speakers avoid quality medical care just because of how inconvenient and complicated it is to seek treatment when they speak little to no English. The benefit of a bilingual practice is the ability to bring in those patients who do not speak as much English and still offer them care. Spanish speakers seeking out a bilingual practice in their community will make their way to you as their friends and family members express how pleasant their experience was.
4) Improved Patient Satisfaction
With an improved patient-provider relationship and better quality of care, becoming a bilingual practice with the right tools increases patient satisfaction overall. Patient satisfaction is also increased when a bilingual practice offers their Spanish speaking patients access to a quality patient portal that can be translated to better fit their needs. Studies show that when English speaking patients have access to simple communication tools and tools that help them better understand their medical care, they have a more positive experience overall. This is equally true for the Spanish speaking community and is another advantage of a bilingual practice.
5) Better Access to Care and Specialty Services
Whether it be a lack of understanding, the ability to communicate effectively with their physicians, or the information being lost in translation, the Spanish speaking community in the US access specialty care services far less than those who speak English as their first language. An example of this is the underutilization of Chronic Care Management. Regardless of their first language, patients with multiple chronic conditions gain access to life-saving services when they utilize CCM. With the right vendor, a bilingual practice can offer CCM and other specialty services to their patients who genuinely need it.
Chronic Care Management Services Can Help You Reach More of the Spanish Speaking Community
Your team doesn’t need to be built entirely of Spanish speakers for your practice to reach more of the Spanish speaking community. Check out what our Bilingual Chronic Care Management team can do for your practice here.