National Doctors’ Day was March 30. This post is dedicated to all healthcare workers and the amazing work they do, virtually and in person.
Our popular Digital House Calls program is now available in Spanish! For anyone who’s put off using virtual healthcare due to communications difficulties or distrust of English-dominated telehealth, this is a great way to learn the basics, literally in the language they best understand.
“It’s a great resource of the type often not found for Spanish speakers,” says BridgingApps’ bilingual Digital Navigator, Alejandra Gonzalez. “Tara [Rocha, our Digital Learning Specialist who is also fluent in Spanish] did an amazing job translating the course, and I love that it’s very much self-paced so users can take their time with it. Telehealth is the new norm that everyone has to adapt to regardless of language, so it’s great that Spanish-speaking users now have a resource that can help them out.”
Healthcare and American Spanish Speakers
The Spanish edition of Digital House Calls is another step toward meeting the long-running challenge of equal access to healthcare in the United States. Historically and even in recent years, Americans from Spanish-as-first-language cultures have had higher exposure to health risks, higher rates of severe illness, and less access to quality health care than their Anglo counterparts. Language barriers are hardly the sole cause, but they are a major factor:
- People speaking a different language than their doctors have greater difficulty explaining what is wrong, and may not be taken as seriously.
- Even a small miscommunication can be dangerous when prescriptions and medical procedures are involved.
- For the above reasons and also when health media is available only in English, many people feel that getting proper healthcare (and learning proper self-care) is more trouble than it’s worth.
Providing more information in Spanish, especially audiovisual programs such as Digital House Calls, is an important part of encouraging more people to keep up their medical checkups—and of encouraging young Spanish speakers to enter professional healthcare themselves.
How to Get the Most from Telehealth
Regardless of first language, even people who have seen doctors regularly for years can be uneasy about entering new territory with their first telehealth visit. The following starter tips are borrowed from Digital House Calls and from our blog article “Navigating the World of Telehealth.”
- Before your first appointment, complete the online paperwork, test your digital connection, and gather all needed documents/prescription bottles/equipment.
- Have your computer setup in a spot free of background noise and other distractions. And turn off computer alerts.
- Make sure that your image is well lit and clearly visible.
- Wear a single layer of loose clothing: the healthcare provider may ask you to remove something or roll up your sleeves.
- If there is any concern about miscommunications, know how to use your digital platform’s chat/captioning/translation functions.
P.S. If you still have difficulties with Digital House Calls, telehealth, or virtual communications in general, BridgingApps is glad to help. Contact us online (or call 713-838-9050 x 383) to ask about Digital Navigator referrals, our Assistive Technology labs, or other tech services. Feel free to ask for Spanish-speaking assistance if needed!