The Role of Pharmaceutical Translation Services in Improving Patient Outcomes

March 27, 2023

Patient-centric approaches have become increasingly important in the pharmaceutical industry in recent years. It’s an approach where patients are at the centre of the decision-making processes, and their needs and preferences are taken into consideration when developing new drugs or treatments. One key aspect of patient-centricity is clear and effective communication to ensure patients have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their health. This is where pharmaceutical translation services play a crucial role.

Our blog below explores areas where pharmaceutical translation services can be used for patient communication and how high-quality translations can help improve patient outcomes.

medicine, drugs, pharmaceutical

Translation of patient education materials

One way that pharmaceutical translation services can be used to improve patient outcomes is by translating patient education materials. These include brochures, leaflets, and other materials designed to educate patients about their diagnosis, treatment options, and how to manage their condition.

By clearly and concisely translating these materials into the patient’s native language and showing an appreciation for cultural differences, pharmaceutical companies can ensure patients have full access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

Translation of medication instructions

Medication instructions is another area where pharmaceutical translation can be used to improve patient outcomes. Patients receiving medication instructions in a language they do not understand may be less likely to take their medication as prescribed. Any misunderstandings or confusion could result in patients taking the wrong amount of medication at the wrong time, potentially leading to adverse reactions or reduced effectiveness.

A complete understanding of medication instructions can be particularly important for patients with chronic conditions who may require long-term treatment. According to Accenture, patient adherence is at less than 50% for multiple chronic conditions, which is not only worrying for the health of the patient, but also results in an estimated lost value totalling more than $300B. Investing in more patient-centric approaches is therefore hugely important.

By providing medication instructions in the patient’s native language, pharmaceutical companies can improve medication adherence, ensure that patients receive the full benefits of their medication and avoid any side effects from inadvertent misuse.

Another important aspect when providing medication is the communication of potential side effects. Many medications come with a laundry list of possible side effects, some of which can be serious or even life-threatening. Patients must understand the potential risks associated with their medications so that they can make informed decisions about their use. To ensure this understanding, providing the information in the patients’ native language via pharmaceutical translation is crucial.


Using pharmaceutical translation services for clinical trials

Translation can also play a role in clinical trials. Clinical trials are a vital part of the drug development process, and to gain a full understanding of a drug’s effectiveness across diverse populations, it is essential that patients from different cultural backgrounds participate in these trials.

By leveraging pharmaceutical translation services during clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies can ensure that patients from diverse backgrounds who speak different languages can participate with a full understanding of the purpose and what is required of them. Having this participant understanding can improve the quality of data collected during the trial and increase the effectiveness of the medication being developed.

Challenges in medical and pharmaceutical translation

There are several challenges associated with translating medical information for patient-centric approaches:

Complex medical terminology

Medical terminology is often complex. However, translations must be precise, consistent and convey the intended meaning. To achieve high-quality, accurate outputs, the translators carrying out the work should be industry specialists, ideally having first-hand experience in the pharmaceutical or medical industry or having studied it in-depth.

Adopting patient-friendly language

As medical terminology can be challenging to understand, even in the native language, when creating patient-centric content, pharmaceutical companies convey the information in a patient-friendly way. When industry-specialist terms are needed, they should be clearly explained for full patient understanding. This approach and style must then be mirrored in the translations.

Adapting to reflect cultural differences

Another vital consideration when carrying out pharmaceutical translations for patient-centric strategies is ensuring that translations are culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of patients from different backgrounds. This process involves localising the translations to the relevant markets to reflect an appreciation of the cultural nuances. For effective localisation, the translators should be native to the target market and preferably living ‘in-market’ so their knowledge is up-to-date.

medicine, drugs, pharmaceutical

Pharmaceutical translation services are critical in supporting better patient outcomes when communicating with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. They enable improved understanding and adherence for better medical results for the patient and can also help the drug development process.

Mission Translate specialises in assisting the pharmaceutical industry with its translation and language requirements and works with a number of leading brands. We know what’s needed to provide high-quality translations that support the work within the industry and have the tools and expertise to deliver. If you have a question about our services, please get in contact with our team.

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