When it comes to providing great medical care to your patients, few things are more important as the ability to understand each other clearly. Engaging in effective communication is vital for both physicians and staff to be able to work together with patients to restore their health and well being. Language is, for obvious reasons, one of the most important elements of communication. And across the United States, millions of people speak Spanish. Some are bilingual, whereas many others speak little or no English at all. Hispanics are the largest minority in the U.S., and states like Arizona, Florida, California, New Mexico, and Texas are home to large Spanish-speaking communities.
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, a whopping 42.6 percent of the population in Phoenix identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Phoenix, the capital and largest city in the state of Arizona, is the fifth most populous city in the US. The city has a population of approximately 1,660,272 people, and the entire Phoenix metropolitan area houses nearly 5 million people.
Estimates also show that approximately 20.4 percent of Arizonans live in households where Spanish is spoken at home. That means that Spanish is the language spoken in 1 in every 4 households — a fifth of all the families in Arizona.
So if you’re running a medical practice in Arizona, providing bilingual services to your patients should be a no-brainer. Communication difficulties can begin as soon as the patient decides to call your office and can’t speak to anyone who understands Spanish. However, it may be difficult to hire full-time staff to provide this service, especially for smaller medical practices.
A bilingual answering service could be exactly what your office needs in this case. It will allow you to work with bilingual phone operators who will take each phone call and ensure that your patients receive quality assistance, regardless of whether they speak English or Spanish.
Here are four reasons why hiring a bilingual answering service in Arizona makes sense.
Reason #1. It will make your Spanish-speaking patients feel more confident in your services
When a patient decides to call your office and seek your services, they’re putting their health in your hands. This puts patients in a particularly vulnerable position, and feeling like no one at your practice is able to understand them can be scary and frustrating. It can also impede you and your staff from providing quality care.
Bilingual operators will be able to make your patients feel at ease when they have to communicate with your practice over the phone. They will provide accurate information about your services, listen to your patients’ concerns, and relay that information back to you.
Reason #2. Your practice will be able to provide great care to all your patients without exceptions
It doesn’t matter what language people speak: everyone deserves high-quality healthcare. But unfortunately, language differences often create an insurmountable barrier for those who need to seek medical assistance but don’t speak English fluently.
Being able to communicate effectively with your Spanish-speaking patients can help bring down this barrier. It will make each individual patient feel appreciated and help build a stronger culture of equality and respect inside your medical office.
Reason #3. Bilingual answering services can help your practice become part of the community
Patients who know that your practice offers bilingual services will be more likely to recommend your services to other Spanish-speaking members of the community. Over time, this feature will make it easier for people to build a rapport with your practice and establish a sense of belonging.
Offering bilingual services will show members of the community that you are truly committed to treating each patient with the kindness, respect, and concern that they deserve. This can improve your practice’s word-of-mouth reputation and attract new patients who seek a healthcare provider who truly understands and cares for them.
Reason #4. You will be able to avoid confusion and hazardous mistakes
If a Spanish-speaking patient calls your practice and the person who picks up their phone call is unable to communicate effectively with them, it’s possible that they won’t be able to understand exactly what the patient requires. This situation can be problematic regardless of the industry that you work in, but it’s particularly risky when it comes to healthcare services.
Miscommunication can lead to missed appointments, mistaken prescriptions, and conflicting schedules. It can negatively impact the quality of your work and the health of your patients. But through the use of a bilingual answering service, your patients will be able to communicate clearly with your practice to solve inquiries and schedule appointments.
The service can also be customized to feature automated reminders to make sure patients are up-to-date on their appointments, prescriptions, and follow-up consultations.