Emily lays in her bed and stares at the ceiling as the nurse rides her to the pre-operative room. She is about to have her left knee replaced and she is worried. St. Francis Hospital is renowned for its reconstructive orthopedics and Dr. Camden seems very nice and knowledgeable, but will he do a good job? What about the implant, will it work? Will she be able to run on the beach again with her dog? A thousand thoughts are spinning through her head as the room gets fuzzier and fuzzier and fuzzier…
Though Emily probably didn’t realize it, she was thinking about quality management systems and about translations. Just before the anesthetics kicked in, she… wait, what? Translations?!
Hospitals bring together a myriad of people, equipment and other resources to create a complex ecosystem which main focus is to provide the most optimal patient care possible. This does not happen by happenstance or overnight. It is the result of a carefully designed quality environment aimed to satisfy its patients customers.
Here is where translations kick in. Just like a hospital, a quality-focused medical translation service creates a quality management system that guarantees the highest possible quality for its customers, often manufacturers of medical devices (such as Emily’s knee implant). A widely recognized quality management system for medical (device) manufacturers is ISO standard 13485.
Let’s look at the main pillars of ISO 13485 and examine the analogy between a hospital and a quality-focused medical translation service such as Excel Translations:
There is a level of trust that exists between hospital and patient. Emily has trusted that St. Francis hospital has put together the building blocks of a quality environment: that top management is fully committed to patient care and that they have put the organizational structure, responsibilities and governance in place to achieve its stated mission.
A quality-focused medical translation service allocates and directs its resources –personnel, infrastructure, information, partners, finances – for the operation and continuous improvement of its translation process, as well as the full satisfaction of its customers.
Emily’s knee replacement does not just happen. It takes a village hospital to perform her surgery. It takes equipment, technology, money and people (nurses, doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, lab technician, anesthesiologists) to make it happen.
A quality-focused medical translation service works the same way. It takes equipment (translation and localization tools) and people (medical linguists, localization engineers, proofreaders, project managers, graphic designers). And just like not everyone is cut out to be a doctor, not everyone is made to be a professional medical linguist. At Excel Translations, not everyone makes the cut: less than 20% of all applicants will become qualified by Excel Translations.
Surgery day. Dr Camden is replacing Emily’s left knee in a carefully orchestrated operating room. He is educated and trained to perform the surgery and is supported by staff and technology. The actual and potential risks of the surgery are identified, analyzed and mitigated to an acceptable level.
A quality-focused medical translation service ensures the effective and efficient operation of linguistic and supportive processes, which provides it with the capability to satisfy its customers.
Medical linguists are educated and trained and provided with the tools and technology to deliver high-quality translations.
Measurement, Analysis & Improvement
St. Francis Hospital monitors the performance of its surgeons and doctors. Are the patients satisfied? If there was a complaint, did things improve after action was taken? Does the physician have a good record, good references, has his license ever been suspended?
Measurement data are important in making fact-based decisions. As a quality-focused medical translation service, Excel Translations measures, collects and analyzes all kinds of data related to its operation to ensure customers are satisfied with the translated products. For example, Excel Translations screens and tests all medical linguists and monitors their ongoing performance. In addition, Excel Translations gets frequently audited different and independent third-party auditors and has enjoyed uninterrupted independent certification for over 15 years.
p.s. Four months after her surgery, Emily is running on the beach again.