HSS Shares Strategies to Enhance and Enable Communication with Language-Diverse Patients at Annual ACR Convergence
More than 25 million people in the United States have limited English language proficiency. In the healthcare setting, appropriate language services are critical to deliver safe, effective and quality medical care, says Bella Elogoodin, vice president, Service Excellence & Language Access at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Research shows that the use of professional medical interpreters increases patient satisfaction, improves adherence and outcomes and reduces adverse events in populations with limited English proficiency, she noted.
“HSS has a strong commitment to our culturally and linguistically diverse patients. We use innovative communication techniques, technology and assistance devices to bridge the gaps,” Elogoodin explained. She shared her expertise during a presentation at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Convergence 2023 on November 13 in San Diego. The session, titled “Lost in Translation: Creating Access Pathways for Language-Diverse Patients in Rheumatic Care Settings,” was co-moderated by Giselle Rodriguez, LCSW, social work program coordinator, Charla de Lupus (Lupus Chat)® at HSS.
During her presentation, Elogoodin reviewed federal, state and regulatory agency requirements to provide professional language and communication resources to patients and families. “These laws aim to create a supportive environment to ensure that all patients with limited English proficiency, as well as individuals with a hearing or visual impairment, receive care in their preferred language,” she said.
Elogoodin discussed innovative strategies that HSS has implemented to enhance and enable communication in these patient populations, including onsite professional medical interpreters; a video interpreter service for certain languages; patient access to vital documents and educational materials in their preferred language and in Braille; audio-recorded admission and discharge instructions in one’s preferred language; the use of clear face masks; Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) service for deaf or hard-of-hearing patients who don’t sign; telephone amplifiers such as big button phones and other telecommunication devices; and text-to-speech apps.
“In the medical setting, language and communication services contribute to better health outcomes, improved patient-provider communication and a more equitable healthcare system for all,” Elogoodin concluded.
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the 14th consecutive year), No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2023-2024), and the best pediatric orthopedic hospital in NY, NJ and CT by U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” list (2023-2024). In a survey of medical professionals in more than 20 countries by Newsweek, HSS is ranked world #1 in orthopedics for a fourth consecutive year (2023). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has the lowest readmission rates in the nation for orthopedics, and among the lowest infection and complication rates. HSS was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center five consecutive times. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State, as well as in Florida. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. In addition, more than 200 HSS clinical investigators are working to improve patient outcomes through better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat orthopedic, rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The HSS Innovation Institute works to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The HSS Education Institute is a trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal knowledge and research for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, academic trainees, and consumers in more than 165 countries. The institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally. www.hss.edu.