CASE STUDY: AnMed Health
With diverse communities come language translation issues. Medical interpretation and translation
services are costly and therefore pose a challenge to most health care organizations. In response,
AnMed Health, a 533-bed hospital based in Anderson, South Carolina, sought to establish customer-focused, cost-efficient communication programs.
Accurate data is essential to the appropriate growth and development of any new business venture.
Medical interpretation and translation services are no different. In 2002, AnMed Health assembled a
multidisciplinary process-improvement team to develop a system that is currently used to record every
patient’s race, ethnicity, national origin and language preferences in the medical record during the
This information is important, as cultural and linguistic differences may significantly impact the
interaction between patient and caregiver and, ultimately, impact the quality of care, treatment
outcomes, and satisfaction of the patient. Admissions personnel receive culturally appropriate scripts
and in-service training to build their confidence with this sensitive line of questioning. In partnership with
its Medical Resource Management department, the Diversity and Language Services department has
designed and implemented several technical strategies, or focus studies, that give AnMed Health the
ability to quantify services, improve data collection, and monitor the improvement of service quality to
First, all medical interpretations are documented on an Interpretation Services Report and executed by
the attending interpreter. A second strategy is the Interpretation Service Satisfaction tool, a survey
conducted by telephone. This tool includes a prompted series of questions, generated upon completion
of each patient encounter and designed to assess the patient’s satisfaction with the interpretation
support provided. There are two benefits of this tool: it provides specific information for the interpreter
so that he or she may identify areas for improvement, such as accuracy or technique, and it also
provides an opportunity to clarify discharge information for the patient. The third and most innovative
strategy was created for the organization’s obstetrical LEP patients. LEP patients are preregistered at the
women’s health department, and the information is input into the MIDAS+™ system, providing
interpreters with essential information available to caregivers 24 hours per day. In the event of a
premature delivery or miscarriage, this information helps ensure accurate and timely communication at a
AnMed Health has received national recognition for its model language program and is also the first
health system in South Carolina to use Deaf-Talk video conferencing technology to improve
communication with deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. By utilizing these and other new strategies as
they are developed, AnMed Health meets the language interpretation challenges associated with
providing service to a diverse community.
2. Identify and Report Disparities.
Hospitals must plan for and commit resources to the evaluation of medical interventions. Hospital
leaders should use quality measures to generate reports stratified by race, ethnicity and language
group to examine disparities in clinical processes and patient experiences.
24 Such reporting and
performance review has been shown to improve the quality of care provided to patients as it
enables the organization to gauge its performance on dimensions of care and services to eliminate
25 It is further recommended that these evaluations apply qualitative and quantitative
methods; include formative and summative assessment; employ action research; use participatory
and empowerment approaches; and consider a broad range of outcomes including societal,