How to successfully localize healthcare software solutions: challenges and approaches
Not only are technological advancements making our lives easier, but they are also streamlining processes, automating tasks, and keeping track of critical processes that would otherwise need to be recorded manually. Healthcare software solutions are now widely used to keep tabs on different hospital divisions and centralize information, but also to offer patients a better experience. What are the challenges involved in localizing them?
New technologies and software are taking over, thanks to the indisputable advantages they bring: from expediting administrative tasks, to being able to check situations at a glance, on a map or on a dashboard—and everything in between. The healthcare sector is no exception to this progress. These days, healthcare software solutions and clinic management systems are used to store information related to patients, hospital staff and authorities in a single place, and to provide a unified work system that can be used by any department.
Professional medical care and quality patient experience are other advantages that come with the adoption of healthcare software solutions. With the power of automation, medical staff can use such systems to automatically fill out patient records, to set up appointments and reminders, and to send test results in a timely fashion. From an administrative and financial point of view, healthcare software solutions help hospital management teams achieve cost-effective performance by managing the work of doctors and staff, optimizing peak hours and evaluating medical activities. According to Ashwini M. Zenooz and John Fox, the authors of the Harvard Business Review article “How New Health Care Platforms Will Improve Patient Care”, “[…] many health systems have begun to partner with a variety of CRM platforms that have developed workflows and capabilities to meet the unique challenges of patient engagement and enable system-wide care traffic control”.
For healthcare software solutions to be truly beneficial, the process of localizing them must follow a series of thorough steps. Precise translation alone is not enough—the solution must be adapted in such a way that it is a perfect fit for the target culture, and fully compliant from a regulatory perspective. As if that was not challenging enough, healthcare providers are also subject to constraints imposed on them by the timelines of bidding processes. So, once a contract is won, the deadline for delivering the final, localized product is usually extremely tight.
On top of that, software localization itself entails a number of factors that have to be considered in order to deliver a product of the required quality. Here are some of them:
👉Software localization is all about precision and, at the same time, delivering understandable texts and strings. From a medical point of view, it is obviously imperative that patients receive appropriate care and treatment. However, the patients themselves also need to be able to understand what that involves.
👉Software localization deals with code, so dealing with strings and placeholders is a day-to-day task. To ensure that each string is translated appropriately, it is important to understand both what follows the strings, or what operation the software will carry out, and also what purpose a repeated string has in different contexts.
👉When localizing software, it is usual to have to work with different formats and tools. This requires additional technical expertise and solid engineering teams, who are able to leverage such tools and ensure that the project is coherent.
👉When dealing with the text to be localized, it is important to bear in mind that the number of words used varies across different languages. For example, an Italian translation/target text can be up to 300% longer than the original English text. Variations between the number of words in the source and target texts can also be caused by compound nouns, different sets of characters or alphabets used, and line height or width, all of which can complicate the management of text layout.
👉Another essential step is software testing. The end product is tested after localization has been carried out, and checks for bugs and mistakes both in the translated text and in the layout or design (text not fitting or overlapping), or even in the software itself.
Localizing software is far from being an easy task but, with the right tools and expertise, you can reach your targets. CPSL has helped one of the leading healthcare software solutions providers to market themselves all over the world. If you want to learn how, CHECK out our Case Study about one of the market leaders in Hospital Management Software!
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