Now you’re speaking my language

Effective communication with patients is a necessary component of delivering culturally competent care—but language remains a barrier. Consider that 25M Spanish speakers receive one-third less care (based on spending) than other Americans, and that language-based gaps in healthcare have actually widened over the last two decades. Digital health has an opportunity to address these barriers, and the past few weeks saw promising moves. Telehealth startup Galileo expanded 24/7 primary and specialty care access to Spanish speakers. Australian telehealth startup Coviu announced a partnership with real-time translators from Ezispeak Health to cover 30 languages, and on-demand medical interpretation startup Jeenie raised $9.3M. But translation and interpretation capabilities aren’t the only approaches: considering only 23% of Hispanic/Latinx patients report sharing a racial, ethnic, or language background with their providers, investment in diverse medical training and hiring stands to help all patients feel seen in healthcare settings.

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