During several community meetings, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center leaders heard from residents who spoke English as a second language that accessing health care was often a challenging and mysterious effort.
Recognizing that cultural differences often impeded access to its health care services, the Storm Lake hospital made a commitment to address the issue.
Working with Buena Vista University, the hospital created a video tutorial addressing many of the questions and concerns expressed by Latino residents. Hospital department managers, interpreters, public health officials, physician's clinics and a community health center collaborated to provide information sought by residents.
Physicians, employees, interpreters and university students made up the cast for the 13-minute video and the entire presentation was narrated in Spanish. An English version of the video also is available.
The video addresses a number of issues and hospital-related experiences that might confuse or intimidate someone who does not speak English. The video shows patients and visitors using the free valet services, meeting with the admissions staff, illustrating the importance of patients bringing current medications, emergency room procedures, and understanding the hospital's billing system.
Local employers such as Tyson and Sara Lee, area schools, parenting and health-related groups and organizations have agreed to integrate the video into their orientation programs for new employees and program participants.
"Our goal is to be certain everyone has equal access to and a good understanding of the local health care system," said hospital CEO Todd Hudspeth. "The collaborative spirit of area health care professionals, hospital employees, the university and local employers, created a successful endeavor on behalf of area residents, especially our newest residents."
* This article first appeared in the April 30, issue of the American Hospital Association News.