UCHealth aims to remove language barriers in prescription medications

Medication literacy and patient-centered labels have been linked to improved health outcomes. Now, Denver-based UCHealth has announced plans to take this a step further by implementing a program to translate prescription instructions into 26 languages.

Since the program's rollout, more than 2,000 prescriptions with translated labels were sent out in February alone, according to an April 3 press release shared with Becker's.

"Patients with limited English proficiency often struggle to understand, remember and comply with medication instructions printed in English," Scott Suckow, director of language services at UCHealth, said in a statement. "This new service will help remove an important barrier to care."

Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, Amharic, French, Polish, Chinese, Nepali and Somali are just a few of the 26 languages Colorado patients will be able to request translations in. If a patient requires translation to a language beyond the 26 offered, they will be able to receive help from a UCHealth translator, according to the press release. 

If a UCHealth patient has already selected a primary language in their electronic health record, their prescriptions will automatically now be sent off for translation in that language. 

"Having access to translated prescription medication labels, especially when someone has more than one prescription, helps avoid confusion, increase health literacy, and ensure vulnerable patients receive appropriate doses," the release states. 

The program will allow for thousands of Colorado patients to access these translation services.

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