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2023 Language Support: Outreach Messaging Support in 61 Languages!
2023 Language Support: Outreach Messaging Support in 61 Languages!
Cecilia Corral avatar
Written by Cecilia Corral
Updated over a week ago

CareMessage is updating our product to allow for an easy customer experience in communicating with patients in their preferred languages!

We know you serve a diverse population, and need a messaging solution that can facilitate the delivery of accurate information in the language that is preferred by patients. Twenty-five percent of FQHC patients nationally are best served in a language other than English. That translates to over seven million people!

People with limited English proficiency are less likely to have a regular health care provider, have fewer physician visits, and have lower rates of screening (e.g., blood pressure, cancer). Language barriers can adversely affect healthcare outcomes. This includes increased hospitalization rates, longer stays, and higher mortality rates. As a mission-driven organization focused on health equity, we want our solution to address this need.

Here are all the details! Please feel free to contact your Customer Success Manager or our Support team if you have any questions.

  • How will Language Support work?

Starting in summer 2023, CareMessage users can now use our interface to send Outreach messages in languages other than English and Spanish. Users will supply their own translated messaging content. A convenient search bar is available to select languages and display those language windows within the interface, alongside English and Spanish.

It also means that when a patient's preferred language is one of our supported languages, they will receive system messages in their patient-preferred language.

This allows for consistency of the user experience and ensures that we are facilitating important communication to users in their preferred language.

  • What languages will you support?

Here is the list of languages that will be included as options in the CareMessage Outreach interface as of June 2023, and that will have translated system messages that will be sent to patients who have those languages as patient-preferred language in their profile.

The list of languages we plan to support will grow throughout the year. It is currently approximately 60, but will be more as time goes on! This is why we want to encourage you to document patient-preferred language data in your EHR. Even if a language is not included this summer, it may be in the future!

  • What do we need to do?

Existing customers need a Staff Supervisor to enable Language Support within the CareMessage app. This can be done within “Settings”, as shown below. You can use the dropdown menu to select languages that will be added to your interface within the Outreach functionality in the CareMessage app:

Once languages have been added by the Staff Supervisor, they will be available within the Outreach template view to be added as individual message inputs, which is where the Outreach content can be populated:

In addition to adding the languages within the CareMessage app interface, we request that you help us by ensuring that your organization has a solid data strategy regarding languages.

If you have an EMR integration with CareMessage, it will be helpful for you to maintain accurate language preference data in the EMR. This will ensure that patients receive messages in their preferred languages. Data on patient-preferred languages will help us to determine which additional languages should be supported in the future.

If you do not have an integration with CareMessage, you may need to update patient information within the CareMessage app to ensure data accuracy. Your Customer Success Manager or Support team can help you with this, if you have any questions.

  • Can a Staff Supervisor remove a language once it has been added?

Once a language has been added to your account, you can not remove it. If this poses an issue for your organization, please contact our Support team.

  • What system messages will be translated?

System messages to be translated include:

  1. Unrequested Error Message

  2. YES or NO error message

  3. Multiple Choice 2 Error Message

  4. Multiple Choice 3 Error Message

  5. Multiple Choice 4 Error Message

  6. Multiple Choice 5 Error Message

  7. Open Ended Error Message

  8. Date Error Message

It’s important to note that, for now, patients will only receive system messages related to Outreach in their preferred language.

For example: If a patient has Polish noted as their preferred language in the patient profile, they'll get all Outreach system messages in Polish, but any appointment-related system messages will be in English. This is totally intentional! It's part of our effort to ensure patients have a consistent message experience. As language support is rolled out for other features, the system messages related to those features will reflect patient-preferred languages.

  • Can I start messaging in other languages right away?

Before you enable languages in settings, we recommend you think about what content you want to send to patients in what languages, and who within your organization (or outside of it) will be responsible for translating content and ensuring accuracy. You should have a plan for what you want to communicate to patients, in which languages, before you enable language functionality.

As soon as you add the new language in your settings, you can add translated content to your templates in Outreach. If you need help with this, our Customer Success and Support teams are here for you!

  • What happens if I want to send messages in a language that’s not “supported”?

Right now, we’re supporting (allowing for selection from the Outreach interface, and providing translated system messages for) approximately 60 languages.

Our main focus is on the languages most commonly used by our customers. We will be adding new languages as time goes on. Watch your monthly newsletter from CareMessage for more information on this!

  • Are you going to be translating outgoing messages?

Functionality for translating outgoing messages is very complex, and we are still working it out. Part of creating a patient-centered experience with language support is making sure that the quality of language translation is high. We don’t want to release a solution that is not optimal.

Right now, you can help us by letting us know what you need. Please communicate with your Customer Success Manager or our Support team if you have requests for translation of outbound messages (language and messages to be translated), so that we can start documenting customer needs.

  • Are you going to be translating incoming messages?

For the June 2023 release, we will be able to translate incoming messages for almost all of the Supported Languages (currently all but four of approximately 60 Supported Languages). In practice, this is what that will look like:

  • Outbound message is sent in Supported Language- for example, Polish. The outbound message asks for a yes/no response

  • Patient responds in Polish, “tak”, which translates to “yes” in English

  • Patient response of “yes” is recognized; the answer is categorized automatically as “yes”, and the patients receives subsequent response outreach message in Polish based on their “yes” response

  • In this scenario, ALL incoming patient responses will be translated into English- so if the patient says, “I don’t know” or “please call me” or “I have a question” in Polish, those inbound messages are categorized as “Needs Review” and the user will view the incoming message in Polish

    • Our plan for subsequent releases is to potentially display the inbound message translated in English, but that will not be included in the June 2023 release

For the four languages for which inbound translation is not supported- Chuukese, Karen Languages, Lao, and Marshallese- the messaging flow is as follows:

  • Outbound message is sent in Patient-Preferred Language- for example, Karen. The outbound message asks for a yes/no response

  • Patient responds in Karen, “may”, which translates to “yes” in English

  • Patient response of “yes” is not recognized because the language is not supported; the patient will receive an error message in Karen that will ask for the patient to respond yes/no in English

    • We’ve designed this flow in this way so that the patient doesn’t get stuck in an error loop. Users should compose outreach templates in a way that incorporates English keywords for this reason

  • If the patient responds yes/no in English, those responses will be categorized automatically as yes/no

  • For this reason, it is helpful to use English keywords as responses for the four languages for which inbound translation is not supported (ie. ask the patient to respond “yes/no” in English, even though the rest of the message is in another language)

  • For these unsupported languages, there might be a higher number of "Needs Review" cases

Our approach to inbound language translation is that we want the patient to be able to communicate in their preferred language, so we are supporting inbound patient responses in patient-preferred language to the greatest extent possible. We will continue to make progress in this in subsequent releases.

  • What if I only want to send a message in some of the languages I’ve added to my account, not all of them?

You can just remove that language input window! You don’t have to send a message in all languages, just whichever ones you want.

  • What about features besides Outreach?

We plan to launch Language Support for Appointments and Messenger before the end of 2023.

  • Anything else I should know about sending Outreach messages in other languages?

No restrictions exist on the number of languages that can be included in a single Outreach. English does not have to be included in the languages for any Outreach.

Our objective is to maintain communication in a single, patient-preferred language within a patient's message thread related to Outreach. As we add Language Support for additional features, this will be the case for those other features. We view this as the most patient-friendly and patient-centric solution, and this is one of the reasons we are limiting the number of languages for the June release.

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