San Diego, July 17 – Lab Tests Online , a premiere healthcare website that provides lab testing information to patients and their families, has embarked on an ambitious effort to bring its free, award-winning content to non-English speakers. Translations of the top-ranked patient education site have been launched in Spanish, German, and Polish in three successive months this spring, and new sites in Hungarian and Italian are expected to go live by the end of the year.
The new international sites, located in Spain, Germany, and Poland, operate under license from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), which produces the US Lab Tests Online in collaboration with 16 other laboratory organizations. In keeping with the goal of providing lab testing information from the professionals who do the testing, editorial responsibility for the translated sites fall to a leading laboratory association in each country. Also in accordance with the policies of the US site, the new sites are noncommercial and avoid use of brand names whenever possible.
While each new site is being developed specifically for the patient populations in the named countries, the new sites are a freely available resource to anyone outside of those countries. Thus, the 80 million Spanish-speaking Internet users in the US and Latin America can navigate to Lab Tests Online-Spain (http://labtestsonline.es), otherwise know as Lab Tests Online-ES, to find answers to their lab testing questions. AACC has consulted with laboratorians in Mexico and in Spain and has been reassured that any differences in language use are minimal and should not be an obstacle to users.
The US site offers detailed information on a variety of blood and urine tests as well as information on genetic tests and tests for microbial infections. Along with additional information, tests descriptions explain what is being tested, how the test is used, and what the results might mean. The site also provides descriptions of many diseases and conditions, and identifies which tests are used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor them. Feature articles provide deeper insight into such laboratory topics as the meaning of reference ranges, the reliability of laboratory tests, the reasons for undergoing genetic testing, and benefits and concerns associated with pharmacogenomics.
Just as the development of all original content has required the collaboration of almost the entire laboratory community in the US and Canada -- and has involved substantial funding from corporate sponsors – translating Lab Tests Online in Europe has also demanded substantial involvement and support from the laboratory profession and the diagnostics industry in each country. The US site currently contains more than 3000 web pages and over 1.2 million words, with new content being added and existing content updated on an ongoing basis. In an effort to launch more quickly, the three European sites translated a subset of the content before going live, and plan to add content over time. The Italians and Hungarians are following the same plan. Communication among the sites in the Lab Tests Online network helps keep the editorial teams aware of additions and modifications, and has, on a few occasions, led to clarifications of existing material.
In addition to the five new language sites, Lab Tests Online has been adapted for use in the United Kingdom and Australia. The UK site has been live since June 2004, while Lab Tests Online-AU anticipates launching later this year.
The US Lab Tests Online launched in July 2001 and currently averages 1 million visitors per month. The site has won numerous awards for its content and writing, and was most recently recognized by Dorland’s Healthcare Information as a “Best Healthcare Website” for 2007. The site is among the top ten most popular Patient Education sites, as ranked by Alexa, a web information company that measures Internet traffic.