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6 Reasons why your Medical Translation Partner may not be HIPAA-Compliant

By November 26, 2014 April 28th, 2019 No Comments

How carefully have you screened “your” Language Services Provider?

Medical Translation can be complicated. To begin with, your company needs to ensure that your Localization Services Provider (LSP) is the right business partner to handle not only the complexities of the medical jargon, terminology, review and certification processes, but also any applicable international regulations.

While those factors might seem daunting on their own, they are actually just the starting point.

There is growing concern within the healthcare industry about the potential sharing of protected health information (PHI). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put into effect in 1996 for just this reason. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information.”

What does this mean for your company if you need to have your medical content translated?

Here are 6 tips to ensuring that your medical translation services partner is taking the necessary steps to comply with HIPAA:

1. HIPAA Training
Has your LSP’s entire staff undergone official HIPAA certification training? MediaLocate recently underwent a stringent set of HIPAA certification training sessions and we are happy to say that we passed with flying colors.

HIPAA Collage
HIPAA_2_1HIPAA training at MediaLocate

2. Business Associate Questions and Screening
While many medical translation providers may claim that they are HIPAA-compliant and enjoy BA status, it is a good idea to dig a little deeper into their claims. Business Associates (BA) are service providers outsourced by HIPAA-compliant medical companies known as Covered Entities (CE). But that does not automatically mean that just any service provider working for a CE is a fully compliant BA. As part of our HIPAA training, MediaLocate underwent a rigorous investigation and process aimed at identifying, verifying, and certifying that all of our translation workflows and our IT infrastructure were compliant and ensured the full safety of PHI.


3. Stringent Screening for Subcontractors
What processes does your LSP apply when screening and qualifying its sub-contractors? MediaLocate uses the same criteria for all medical translation partners that we have in place for our own BA certification. In fact, we routinely reject medical translation providers that would otherwise be qualified solely based on their experience in the medical industry. This gives us a much stricter set of selection criteria and ensures that we have a solid and compliant process from end to end.

4. ISO Certifications
In addition to the above criteria, it is essential that your medical translations provider have the minimum ISO certifications to ensure not only accurate medical translations, but also the required data security and IT policies. MediaLocate is among a small and elite group of LSPs to have achieved multiple ISO certifications (including for medical devices and medical labeling), EN15038:2006 Certification, as well as ITAR Registration (regulations for international trade and national data security).

5. Experienced Medical Translators
It is a sad fact in the translation industry that language service providers and freelance translators often accept work for which they are not qualified. Generalists with degrees in languages only may be fine for translating birth certificates and greeting cards, but there is no substitute for both academic and professional training in the medical fields. At MediaLocate, we pride ourselves in building subject-matter expert (SME) translation teams, with signed NDAs, and a demonstrated commitment to delivering the highest quality work possible.

6. Solid IT Infrastructure
Does your LSP use the sufficient security systems and protocols to safeguard personal data? MediaLocate ensures that our clients’ confidential information is secured with card-scan entry, WorldServer technology and ITAR security compliance. What’s more, our free MyMediaLocate client portal is available via secure login and third-party authentication protocols.

Curious as to how you can get started with HIPAA-compliant medical translations? Contact our expert medical translation team at [email protected] or call 1-800-776-0857 to learn more!

MediaLocate’s medical team being trained on surgical implants and labeling

Helpful Links

 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Understanding Health Information Privacy


Click here for your Guide to Finding the Right Language Services Partner

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