Communication is key in healthcare—from reading admissions forms to following hospital signage and understanding discharge instructions. And with almost 47 million people in the United States speaking a language other than English, translation is an essential component of safe, effective, and quality healthcare.

To ensure that Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients receive the level of care that they are entitled to, the Joint Commission created communication and language standards that went into effect in January 2011. Hospitals and healthcare organizations seeking Joint Commission accreditation must comply with these standards, which include:

  • Translating written documentation (forms, instructions, documents, signage, etc.) into appropriate languages
  • Training caregivers and health professionals to be culturally sensitive when communicating with different ethnic groups
  • Determining whether the patient needs assistance completing admission forms
  •  Communicating information about unique patient needs to the care team

Communication Enhances Patient Safety, Satisfaction, and Quality of Care

The Joint Commission is dedicated to improving quality of care through better communication between patients and healthcare providers, providing guidance throughout a patient’s healthcare continuum, including admission, assessment, treatment, end-of-life care, discharge and transfer, and organization readiness.

By creating the communication and language standards, the Commission has taken an important step toward facilitating improved patient-provider interaction. When patients can communicate, understand, and follow instructions in their own language, there is less chance of medical misunderstandings and errors that can affect a patient’s health outcome.

Ensure Full Compliance with Joint Commission Standards

Is your healthcare organization at risk of non-compliance with the Joint Commission’s language and communication standards? If so, it could have an adverse effect on federal funding in accordance with Title VI regulations. LEP individuals must have meaningful language access to programs and services, or healthcare organizations risk federal funding for programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), research grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or National Institutes of Health.

Don’t risk your accreditation status! Translate your vital documents into the languages most commonly encountered, using qualified translators. This will help ensure accuracy and readability, and support effective patient-provider communication. Compliance with Joint Commission Standards is a critical component of any healthcare organization’s care continuum.

Do You Have a Plan in Place for Language Services?

At Avantpage, we’re fully versed in and adhere to Joint Commission Standards, and work closely with healthcare organizations to translate all types of documentation, signage, website, and other written materials into threshold languages. Contact Avantpage today for more information on how to meet the needs of LEP patients, provide better healthcare patient-centered services and outcomes, and assure compliance with Joint Commission Standards.