Use the Landing Page to Provide Language Support

If your portal system lacks deep multi-language support, then use the landing page to make materials available to support non-English-speaking patients. Create and post a guide in languages spoken by your patients that show them how to utilize key features. Third-party options may be available to translate.

Patients Who Do Not Speak English May Still Use an English-Language Portal

Even if a patient does not speak English, they may have a family member or trusted friend who does. While working to encourage your portal vendor to provide broader and deeper language support, continue to support non-English-speaking patients in other ways.

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Texting Functionality Can Offer Multi-Language Outreach Options

Many portal systems have the capability to send text messages to patients in multiple languages, alerting them to changes in their portal account or notifying them of upcoming appointments. Deploy text messaging to support the portal but also as a stand-alone functionality.

Trust Can be a Barrier to Portal Enrollment for Immigrants and Refugees

Immigrants and refugees may distrust a portal enrollment process that asks for their email and/or telephone number, as some portal systems require. Outreach by native speakers can help to build trust.

Clinical Messaging Workflows for a Multi-Lingual Patient Population Require Extensive Planning

Even when the portal is in English only, patients may send secure clinical messages to their provider in their native language. Clinics must have workflows developed to translate these and the return messages. The original messages and the translations must both be part of the patient’s medical record.

The information set forth in this Knowledge Center should not be construed as legal or medical advice, a legal or medical opinion on specific facts or representative of the views of the Colorado Health Foundation, its directors, affiliates, agents or representatives unless so stated. This Knowledge Center is not intended as a definitive statement on the subject matter referenced herein. Rather, it is intended to serve as general information for readers, providing practical information for health care organizations seeking to implement and maintain patient portals. By downloading, using or accessing information contained in this Knowledge Center, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use set forth at together with all agreements or instruments referenced therein.

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