PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN – In Their Own Words: Improving Interpretation and Language Access
Vision StatementOur vision is to improve engagement, bridge communication gaps, and deliver culturally responsive care to the limited English proficiency (LEP) communities we serve.
Team ObjectivesOur objectives were to reduce language barriers for the most-used languages and to improve the care experience for LEP communities at Swedish. Our project targets were the top 5 non-English speaking communities: Spanish, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Vietnamese, Somali, and Amharic. Our project scope was First Hill Campus Inpatient Units (medical/surgical, postpartum, and pediatric units) and Outpatient Clinics (First Hill and Cherry Hill Family Medicine Resident Clinics).
Our project assumptions were that lack of culturally sensitive menus (translated menus, special diets) for inpatients, lack of translated forms/documents for clinical communication, need for universal signage for wayfinding, and limited and suboptimal user experience of interpreter services all contribute to impaired communication and suboptimal hospital experiences for LEP patients. Our measures of success were increased use of interpreter services and translated forms, increased awareness of the organization’s language support and resources, improved patient satisfaction scores, increased physician satisfaction when providing care to LEP patients, and meeting communities’ cultural needs as part of culturally competent care.
Success FactorsThe most successful part of our work was presenting our project to Swedish executive leadership and administrative teams, as well as getting the unexpected approval of including an interpreter services presentation during new provider orientation as part of onboarding training. We were inspired by the passion and engagement of our own teammates. This project was driven, planned, and executed purely by residents who voluntarily dedicated time to support and contribute to the project with the goal of doing the right thing for our LEP patients.
BarriersThe largest barrier encountered was that the resources for data extraction and analysis (technical or operational) were not as rich as the group had originally anticipated. We worked to overcome this challenge by acknowledging missing gaps and remaining flexible to adjust project approaches while keeping our goals on target.
Lessons LearnedThe single most important piece of advice to provide another team embarking on a similar initiative is to have a strong leadership sponsor to help manage change and clear system obstacles for the project.