Creative Translation Solutions for Improving Patient Experiences

How UK Healthcare solved check-in confusion for LEP patients with simple and elegant translation solutions


How UK HealthCare solved check-in confusion for LEP patients
with simple and elegant translation solutions

Hospitals and healthcare organizations must provide language services, but finding the right balance of interpretation and translation can take time and effort. For example, how can you make the most of your budget? Or are there any circumstances where translation may be more helpful than interpretation?

CyraCom’s partnership with UK HealthCare, the health system of the University of Kentucky, provides a strong example of utilizing a health system’s language services budget in a creative way. In addition to on-site, phone, and video interpretation, UK HealthCare prioritizes translation projects to help their limited-English proficient (LEP) patients feel comfortable with processes and understand the services they’re receiving. Let’s dive into how UK HealthCare provides an excellent patient experience using translation.

“My goal isn’t to reinvent the process, but to make the existing process for English speakers accessible to LEP patients.”

–Sarah HeslerDirector of Language Services for UK HealthCare
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Meet UK HealthCare’s Sarah Hesler

Sarah Hesler, the Director of Language Services for UK HealthCare, is a National Board-Certified Medical Interpreter for Spanish. She joined the UK HealthCare team in 2012 and loves discovering solutions that help her community’s LEP patients.

About UK HealthCare

UK HealthCare serves thousands of patients within multiple hospitals, 80+ specialized clinics, and 140+ outreach programs. With 13.5% of the Lexington-Fayette population speaking languages other than English at home (US Census Bureau), the most common foreign languages are Spanish, Swahili, Arabic, Nepali, Japanese, and French.

Like many healthcare language services experts, Hesler has to get creative with the budget to ensure legal compliance and equitable treatment for LEP patients. “All of our LEP patients have an interpreter available when they meet with our staff,” Hesler said, “but we needed more solutions outside the examination room. That’s where translation is such a big help.”

“Everything is translated into Spanish, as it’s our most common language after English,” Hesler stated. “For other languages, we prioritize solutions in a focused effort. We really think through what’s best for the patient.”

CyraCom & UK HealthCare:
A Supportive Translation Partnership

Hesler works with staff members in various specialties and locations throughout the UK HealthCare system to find the best solutions to improve communication. Once she has more information about a problem patients and staff have encountered, Hesler turns to CyraCom for advice.

“I’m part of a small department,” Hesler explains, “and I don’t always know the best solution for our challenges. I love that I can reach out to CyraCom and rely on their expertise.”

Hesler works with a dedicated project manager on all of her translation projects. “My project manager, Maura Halliday, is amazing! I always get a quick response to any question I have.” In addition to a robust support system and professional human translators, UK HealthCare’s partnership with CyraCom gives their team access to an affordable desktop publishing system within CyraCom’s secure Translation Portal.

Watch how easy it is to use CyraCom’s secure Translation Portal,
and learn how it can improve your organization’s workflow.

“It’s nice to rely on a partner who provides guidance, expertise, and support in addition to qualified human translators.”

–Sarah Hesler

Translation Solutions for UK HealthCare’s Front Desk

Faster service with bilingual intake forms

Some UK HealthCare staff members had challenges reading answers on medical history forms written in languages other than English. This obstacle made the intake process more challenging and time-consuming for new patients and the front desk staff.

Hesler worked with CyraCom to reformat UK HealthCare’s intake forms into a bilingual format. “I didn’t have to do a thing—I just told my Project Manager, Maura, what we wanted to accomplish, and she helped us develop ideas. Then CyraCom’s team worked on the translation and handled the tedious reformatting. It saved me so much time, and the final version looked great!”

By reformatting forms to include discreet, small-font English translations in addition to the patient’s primary language, UK HealthCare staff could quickly review and understand the completed forms without needing an interpreter’s assistance. After the success of the first bilingual forms, UK HealthCare expanded the languages offered on their intake forms for even better accessibility.

“It seems so obvious now, but translating our intake forms into a bilingual format made everything so much easier. I wish I’d thought of it sooner.”

–Sarah Hesler

CyraCom’s Quality Assurance Translation Solutions Process

UK HealthCare benefits from CyraCom’s detailed quality assurance process:

  • Step 1

    Sarah Hesler submits source text to or our secure Translation Portal.  Her dedicated CyraCom Project Manager, Maura, provides an estimate or schedules a call to gather more information, typically within one business day.

  • Step 2

    A human translator works on the text, using their cultural knowledge and years of experience to accurately capture the source text’s meaning in the target language.

  • Step 3

    A separate linguist edits the translation and makes changes as needed.

  • Step 4

    A proofreader (typically the project manager) reviews the project with intense attention to detail. The proofreader looks for any inconsistencies in page numbers, formatting, etc., to avoid any simple mistakes.

  • Step 5

    CyraCom delivers the final translation to UK HealthCare.

Want more ideas on how to use translation services to improve hospital efficiencies?

Smoother check-in using translated welcome cards

One of UK HealthCare’s OB clinics has a high percentage of LEP patients, as it’s located in a neighborhood where many immigrant and refugee communities are forming. The clinic often had a bottleneck at the front desk and requested additional dual-handset interpretation phones to resolve the issue.

When Hesler went to the clinic to observe the check-in process and talk with the staff, she discovered that many patients didn’t know what to do when they entered the clinic. There was a sign-in sheet, but LEP patients didn’t know they were supposed to add their names and wait to be called to the front desk. Some patients went directly to the front desk to get help, while others would sit down without letting the staff know they were there.

Hesler and the clinic staff brainstormed ideas and realized additional interpreter phones in the lobby wouldn’t solve the problem. Instead, they found a translation solution.

UK HealthCare worked with CyraCom to create “Welcome Cards” in the clinic’s top 12 languages. The cards explain the check-in process in a simple, step-by-step format. With the help of the cards, patients could follow the steps and have the necessary documents ready when called to the front desk. This simple solution resolved the bottleneck at the front desk and made the clinic’s check-in process more efficient.

“Translated materials are always well received. Everyone expects Spanish translations, but people get excited when you can provide information in less-common languages.”

–Sarah Hesler

Better communication via posters & educational materials

UK HealthCare’s language services help patients have a better experience from the moment they walk in the door.

“Interpreters Available” Posters

Following federal mandates, UK HealthCare uses posters in building lobbies to notify LEP patients about their right to interpretation services at no personal cost. The posters include translated text from the 15 most common languages in greater Lexington. This simple solution helps UK HealthCare patients feel at ease knowing they have free access to better communication with the help of an interpreter.

Create Your Own “Interpreters Available” Posters

CyraCom offers clients many tools and support services, including a free downloadable template to create custom “Interpreters Available” posters.

CDC Guideline Posters

Like many healthcare organizations, UK HealthCare often posts information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their facilities. Translating posters with critical information allows LEP patients to increase their knowledge to protect themselves from recent outbreaks. For example, UK HealthCare hung translated posters about the latest Ebola warnings. They wanted to inform patients about their higher risk of Ebola exposure if they’d recently traveled to particular countries. Without translation, LEP patients wouldn’t know to inform their care providers if they recently traveled to any of the highlighted regions, which could result in not getting the necessary treatment. CyraCom translated the text into the languages most commonly found in affected regions while preserving the map and posters’ formatting with their desktop publishing service.

Health Education Materials

UK HealthCare translates educational materials into multiple languages to help LEP patients better understand their conditions. For example, a diabetes educator hosted an event with the assistance of an interpreter. When they passed out the printed information, the attendees were delighted to see it was written in Kinyarwanda. “Typically, no one gets excited about educational materials—yet the translated collateral made it happen!“ Hesler said. Instead of reviewing English materials line-by-line with the help of an interpreter at the event, the participants could take the information home and read it on their own time in their primary language.

The Top 3 Takeaways from UK HealthCare’s Translation Solutions

1 . Using simple translation solutions can make a big impact

Rather than accepting the first solution presented, UK HealthCare used the desired outcome to analyze and create more efficient processes with translated materials. If your staff presents a challenge, take a step back and brainstorm opportunities to use language services to your advantage.

2. Consider opportunities to incorporate additional languages

Many healthcare facilities have large Spanish-speaking populations, but may not offer as much support in other languages. UK HealthCare saw an opportunity to better support LEP patients who speak Swahili, Arabic, Nepali, Japanese, and French using translated content.

3 . Partner with a provider that makes your job easier

Sarah trusts CyraCom to ensure UK HealthCare’s translation projects have localized content in a clean, reader-friendly format. She never has to make layout changes or other adjustments, saving her time to focus on the patients she serves.

Are you looking for simple and effective translation solutions like the ones UK HealthCare uses?