3 Language-Specific Safeguards To Maintain Compliance In Healthcare

Reliable, accurate, and secure translation technology is essential in any sector, but few are as challenging as the healthcare industry.

Accurate and precise translation makes it easier for employees to communicate and do their job, but it is also better for the patient. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that health records and communication are in the patient’s native language to better understand their medical choices.

However, patient privacy is also a significant concern when it comes to getting the right translation services. Employees can unknowingly cause HIPAA violations while translating important and sensitive documents with free online, insecure tools.

Researchers at Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University looked at data breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over the past seven years. They found that more than half of the breaches were the result of internal negligence.



Here are some ways to create safeguards to protect your patients and your organization with secure and fully compliant machine translation.

The Challenges of Translation in the Healthcare Industry

In recent years, it has been more challenging for hospitals and medical companies to stay compliant with HIPAA and other privacy mandates regarding Neural Machine Translation. Some of the issues include:

  • Shadow IT. When employees use unsecured online tools, the software companies can store or even sell sensitive information. Many times, employees may be unaware that the material is vulnerable because they don’t understand the language. However, companies can be liable for leaked information.
  • Cybersecurity. Most medical organizations use HIPAA-compliant service providers. However, not every cloud storage option is as secure as the next one. Storing information on the cloud can leave the information vulnerable to a cybersecurity breach. Anthem Blue Cross, for example, suffered a data leak in 2015, which compromised the information of 79 million people. It ended up costing the organization $40 million. It’s essential for healthcare providers and companies to conduct due diligence into any partner, machine translation or otherwise, that intends to store information on a cloud server to evaluate the data security safeguards in place.

The newest technology and challenges mean that companies need to be more cautious than ever to protect the privacy of their patients.

In other languages, it’s accepted that modifying the global environment is something to be done rarely, if ever.

Female doctor sitting at her workplace with laptop and talking to the patient at hospital

3 Tips to Stay Regulatory Compliant

When it comes to your machine translation efforts, there are steps to take that will ensure the information stays compliant:

#1: Own Your IP with an On-Premise Translation Solution

While your employees may be tempted to use Google Translate or a similar platform for a quick translation, free online translation leaves the information translated vulnerable to leaks and cybercrime.

An on-premise neural machine translation (NMT) solution not only preserves HIPAA compliance but it ensures that the information stays secure and confidential. No one can access it outside your organization because of the servers’ location behind a firewall or private cloud.

And not only is your secure NMT solution fully compliant, it’s also the most effective way to leverage machine translation capabilities. These AI-powered systems adapt to your specific needs. SYSTRAN stores your unique language needs inside a Translation Memory and User Dictionary to quickly improve the technology’s accuracy with each additional translation completed.

#2: Use a Translation Service with Medical Domain- Specialization

The medical world can be confusing to a patient and full of jargon they do not understand. However, Title VI requires that patients understand their treatment options and medical history. Translation, then, needs to be precise but also digestible enough that the patient understands.

The best translation service needs to have the expertise to understand medical jargon and translate it so that someone outside the medical field comprehends.

Read On: What’s so special about domain specialization?

#3: Train Human Translators and Bilingual Employees on MT Systems

Many hospitals and health organizations need both human translators and tools to help them. Be sure to train all relevant employees, such as bilingual workers and translators, to use on-premise NMT tools. That way, you can ensure consistent translation.

Hospital jargon, treatments, and medical terminology are constantly evolving. NMT tools can help healthcare providers and researchers continue to communicate with their colleagues and patients worldwide in their native language. These tools expedite the process by which critical medical information spreads across borders and ensures medical professionals can continue consuming invaluable research and correspondence in the language they’re most comfortable with.

In addition, by training your bilingual employees and translators to use Neural Machine Translation, you can customize your engines for more accessible translation in the future. Your software can learn along with your translators to better assist with all translation efforts.

Test out SYSTRAN’s healthcare-specialized models enhanced with Corona Crisis terminology.

Young Asian female doctor wears a protective mask, using a clipboard, is delivering great news – discussing results or symptoms with a  female patient in the hospital office. Lifestyle new normal after coronavirus.

Stay Up to Date on Healthcare Translation and Compliance

To overcome the challenges of sourcing domain-specific training datasets in the healthcare industry, SYSTRAN partnered with TAUS. Thanks to their Matching Data clustered search technology, TAUS can provide domain-specific data that adapt to emergencies. That way, medical professionals can get accurate and reliable information.

During COVID-19, experts worldwide came together and exchanged information without a language barrier, thanks to NMT, accelerating the distribution of potentially life-saving communication across the globe.

Because as much as NMT helps healthcare institutions become more efficient and productive, in times like these, it is the only system that enables international collaboration around key healthcare issues.

Want to learn more about what makes SYSTRAN’s Pure Neural Server so powerful? Check out our latest webinar here.

CJ Pagharion