Wegmans Food Markets' pharmacists are communicating with shoppers who don’t speak English through a service called Language Line Solutions.


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“Once it’s clear there is a language barrier, the pharmacist presents a simple card with several languages identified, and the patient/customer can point to his or her language. There is access to 200 languages,” explained Mary Ellen Burris, SVP of consumer affairs for the Rochester, N.Y., chain, in a Fresh Stories blog post. “A phone with two handsets allows both the pharmacist and the customer to be on the phone at the same time, with the interpreter.”

In one instance, a Wegmans pharmacist was able to realize that a patient who does not speak English was having symptoms characteristic of a heart attack and an ambulance was called, Burris explained. The EMTs who responded were also able to communicate with the customer through Language Line. 

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Printed prescription information is also available in a number of languages.

“The second kind of assistance is something called Meducation (by our partner Polyglot) for printed prescription drug information,” Burris wrote. “It is a simplified version of patient information including how to take the medication, number of pills for each day of the week and time of day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime). There are also side effects listed. It is in several languages: Spanish, Russian, Italian, Cantonese and Mandarin, plus 18 others.”

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