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Take Action - Patient-Provider Communication

Advance your organization delivery of culturally competent care through improved language access services by following these action steps.

Consider offering patient information in multiple languages (CLAS Standard 7). Offer appointment scheduling instructions, contact information for 24-hour phone medical advice, pharmacy label and medication instructions, emergency services instructions, patient guides to common tests and procedures, provider and specialty care directories, consent forms, newsletters, marketing materials and information about patient advocates in multiple languages.

How to Work Effectively with Interpreters. Learn how to effectively communicate with patients of Limited English Proficiency through an interpreter (CLAS Standard 6). The Interpreting Stakeholder Group, a committee of the Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association has developed a toolkit aimed at providing techniques for working effectively with interpreters.

Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance. Minnesota community health workers come from the communities they serve, working at the grassroots level building trust and vital relationships which make them effective culture brokers between their own communities and systems of care. community health workers reduce cultural and linguistic barriers to health care, improve quality and cost effectiveness of care, and increase the number of health care workers who come from diverse backgrounds or underserved communities.

Notice: Free Interpreter Services Are Available. Provide information regarding the availability of interpreters to patients free of charge (CLAS Standards 4 and 5). The notice includes translations in 10 languages, including Hmong, Lao, Russian, Somali, and Spanish. Minnesota Department of Human Services. (1-page PDF)

Qualified Interpreting for Quality Health Care. This training video for clinical staff on how to work with interpreters covers topics such as: Why it is important to use a qualified interpreter instead of "getting by" with hand gestures and limited second-language skills; key protocols for language interpreting, such as confidentiality and first-person interpreting; cultural considerations; and tips for using remote interpreters (telephonic and video). Produced by the Health Care Interpreter Network and Kaiser Permanente. (19-minute video)

Teach-back Program. Use to train health care providers on how to effectively use the teach-back method to help their patients understand their medical care and treatment. Program materials include a PowerPoint presentation with speakers notes, a video showing an example of doing effective teach-back, and a program guide which includes additional activities and ideas for building a successful program. Developed by Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership.

Translation and LEP Resource from IMIA. Learn more about the translation process to help your organization create better policies around Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) offers guidelines for managing and standardizing the translation process, identifying stakeholders in the process, clarifying the roles of interpreters and clinicians, and more. (14-page PDF)

Provide patients with information on how to navigate the US health care system (CLAS Standard 7). Given the complexities of the US health care system, patients from diverse populations may not understand how to access care, how to pay for care, and how to ask for help. Two local sources for such information include: