THIS MONTH, Laboratorio Buena Salud, a new division of Bio-Reference Laboratories Inc. (BRLI), becomes the first national laboratory for Spanish-speaking patients.
BRLI, of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, says that all services will be customized to the Hispanic community and business will be conducted in Spanish. This includes patient and physician interactions. This is a smart business strategy for three reasons.
First, the Hispanic population in the United States is large and growing. Second, implementation of the Affordable Care Act means thousands of previously uninsured Hispanic Americans will soon have access to health insurance. Third, a minimal investment is required for BRLI, as a traditional clinical lab, to begin serving these patients.
Large, Growing Presence
In 2010, the U.S. Census reported 50.5 million Hispanic Americans in the United States. At 16.3% of the population, this is the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. By 2050, there will be 132.8 million Hispanic Americans, or about 30% of the population.
“Laboratories are not bricks and mortar,” explained Marc D. Grodman, M.D., BRLI’s President and CEO. “Labs are defined by the markets they serve and by their client service staff, sales and sales support professionals, and customer service representatives. To serve a Spanish-speaking population, we recruited and trained Spanish-speaking staff members.
“With this staff, we can offer Laboratorio Buena Salud as an Hispanic-first service in areas around the country where there are large Spanish-speaking populations,” continued Grodman. “This includes Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.
“Our support staff now includes 30 Spanish-speaking customer service representatives,” he said. “This lab’s website is in Spanish, including support for online ordering and reporting. Patient education materials and results reports also are in Spanish.
“The other key element of this strategy is that we are now a bilingual laboratory,” continued Grodman. “Those patients using BRLI, GenPath Oncology, and GenPath Women’s Health can speak to us in Spanish or English.
“As a service business, we should be sensitive to the needs of Hispanic Americans,” he commented. “In many places, health plans, physicians, and other providers are already dedicated to serving Spanish-speaking patients. “As a clinical laboratory, we want to become an integral member of these communities and make it convenient and comfortable for Spanish-speaking individuals and families to take care of their clinical testing needs,” concluded Grodman.