The medical tourism industry, with its steady growth, has established a reach to every nook and corner of the world. Its wide arena offers medical facilities, postoperative care, accommodation and various other such services for its patients.These tourists travel from around the globe, into another culture, with very less or no knowledge of the language, environment or food of the destination.
To make the patient's stay in the country a smooth process, a range of support services like airport transfers, translators, and the desired cuisine are being offered by hospitals. Translation is one of the most important ancillary service that a hospital can provide, in a world where out of 1.8 billion people, only 27% speak English.
Over 6 million people travel to different parts of the world every year. With the richness and diversity in languages, culture and tradition around the world, it might become a hindrance for medical tourists to fly across if they do not understand or know the language of the country in which they are seeking treatment.
This can be especially troublesome when patients are faced with medical jargon. Language barriers can cause problems for tourists as they have an impact on the standard of care. Communication plays an important role during consultation with the doctors or explaining the patient problems and symptoms to the surgeons.
If there is a language problem, it may not be possible for the doctor to understand the full nature of patient's problems. It may also lead to unnecessary or additional medical tests, as the doctor tries to establish a proper analysis of the patient's medical history. Medical mistakes can turn out to be expensive.
Hiring a translator can help you understand the medical jargon and rule out costs of unnecessary or repetitive medical tests.
Since an astounding diversity of languages coexist over the globe, patients who travel might face a problem in getting around and dealing with the locals. When medical tourists travel to countries such as Malaysia, India, Vietnam or Thailand, where the first language isn't English, they have to hire a translator to ensure that they understand the nitty gritties of their treatment.
Translators are of paramount help to the patients in the following services -
picking up patients from the airport
arranging accommodation services
recommending places for recreation and shopping
dealing with bureaucratic necessities
making appointments with doctors
collecting medical reports and explaining the doctor’s consultation
guiding patients around the hospital
To enhance the services of healthcare in medical tourism destinations, top hospitals hire translators for international patients, who may not be familiar with the country’s language. The translator assigned to a patient, assists him/her in the process of the treatment, right from the beginning till the rehabilitation phase. Interpreters in hospitals assist patients during each step of the healthcare process and provider-patient interactions, like in:
Admission into the hospital
Examination of the medical condition
Consultation with the surgeon
Medical tourism destinations have effectively imbibed translation services in their healthcare, to allow the patient a comfortable treatment process.
INDIA - Numerous hospitals in India have language translators in Arabic, Sinhala, French and African to fill in the gap of communication between the patients and the surgeons. Nearly the entire medical staff in the country speaks english. The top hospitals have not left any area of medical tourism untouched, by constantly improving and providing facilities that aid their patients’ stay in the country.
MALAYSIA - Bulk of foreign patients step into Malaysia from Indonesia, Japan, and Middle eastern countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc. Translators and bilingual English speaking nurses are hired in hospitals here for easy communication with the patient, which adds to the process of receiving quality care.
THAILAND - Top medical care centres in Thailand have adopted techniques for their patients to make them feel homely. They have special translation sections in the hospital dedicated to international patients. For example, translators in certain hospitals are fluent in as many as 13 languages, ranging from Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Arabic.
Due to its special translation centres, as many as 500,000 international patients prefer to travel to Thailand for medical care.
In 2014, in the US, there were about 61000 interpreters in the country. The interpreter service group shows a significant increase in services delivered each year, a rise from 2.7% to 7.3%.
Translation becomes an integral part of the treatment process and patients should ensure the following-
Analysis of medical reports and their interpretation is in a language that they understand.
There is complete familiarity of the medical history, previous doctor’s opinion and treatment records, etc. of the foreign doctor, even when these are not recorded in English.
Medical questionnaires and patient information sheets should be in English and in the native language so that the patient can provide the right details.
An interpreter with good language proficiency, in-depth knowledge of different cultures and medicine, plays a major role in the treatment process.
Hospitals in the new medical tourism industry realise that they might lose a significant amount of patients if they aren't able to provide patients with satisfactory translation services. Communication barriers, which can be expensive in the medical field, are made easy with the help of translators.