Medical providers face various challenges in providing quality care to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). The language barrier can significantly impact effective communication and, consequently, patient outcomes. Fortunately, on-demand interpretation solutions such as Interprenet On-Demand address this issue. In this blog post, we explore the benefits of on-demand interpretation for medical services, including over-the-phone interpreting and video remote interpreting, and highlight the importance of leveraging such solutions to enhance patient care.
The Growing Need for Language Support
In 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that 67.8 million people in the US spoke a language other than English at home. Out of those, 13.3 percent have limited English proficiency (LEP) and 5.8 percent don’t speak English at all. Non-English-speaking patients account for a significant portion of the population seeking healthcare services. And studies like this one finds that “language barriers have a major impact on the cost and quality of healthcare.”
Given its status as the largest minority group in the United States, it comes as no surprise that Spanish dominates as the most commonly spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, accounting for 62% of the total in 2019. This percentage is a staggering twelve times higher than the combined total of the next four most common languages spoken. See the U.S. Census Bureau graphic below for reference.
Pain Points Faced by Medical Providers
The language barrier between medical providers and patients with limited English proficiency poses several challenges for clinics and hospitals. Here are some pain points commonly faced that you might recognize:
Miscommunication: Without proper language support, miscommunication can occur, leading to misunderstandings about symptoms, treatment plans, and medication instructions. This can jeopardize patient safety and well-being.
Limited access to medical history: Often, patients with limited English proficiency struggle to provide accurate and detailed medical history information. This can complicate diagnoses, impair continuity of care, and impact treatment decisions.
The time factor: Research has shown that physicians perceive the need for more time when interacting with non-English-speaking patients. While the length of the visit may not differ significantly, the perception of time spent with these patients may affect the quality of care delivered. To address this, on-demand interpreting services play a crucial role in facilitating efficient communication and reducing the time burden on medical providers.
Benefits of On-Demand Interpretation for Medical Services
When an interpreter is needed for medical services, a powerful on-demand interpreting solution offers numerous benefits for medical providers to overcome language barriers and improve patient care.
- Real-time communication: With on-demand interpretation, medical providers can have immediate access to trained interpreters who can facilitate seamless communication with non-English-speaking patients. This real-time support ensures accurate understanding of symptoms, medical history, and treatment plans.
- Access to specialized interpreters: Interprenet On-Demand offers access to interpreters specialized in medical terminology and healthcare practices. They can accurately interpret complex medical information, minimizing the risk of miscommunication regarding important medical details.
- Obtaining informed consent from patients: The difficulty of obtaining informed consent from non-English-speaking patients can be overcome by using a professional interpreter for medical services.
- Enhanced efficiency: Efficient patient visits make clinic operations more streamlined overall. With instant access to interpreters via phone or video call, clinics no longer need to rely on family members or untrained ad-hoc interpreters, ensuring a higher standard of interpretation and more focused patient care.
- Culturally competent care: Our on-demand interpreters are trained to navigate cultural differences and ensure patients feel heard, respected, and understood. This helps foster trust, rapport, and comfort for non-English-speaking patients.
- Improved patient care: The availability of interpreters on standby ensures that patients with limited English proficiency receive the same level of care. Clear and accurate communication between providers and patients leads to better diagnosis, treatment, and patient understanding.
- Growing patient base: By overcoming language barriers thanks to an on-call interpreter for medical services, clinics can expand their patient base.
Instant Interpretation Covering Over 300 Languages
With Interprenet On-Demand, medical providers can get connected to a professional interpreter for medical services in seconds via any mobile device or the Internet.
We have elevated over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) and video remote interpretation (VRI) to a user-friendly experience in a secure and scalable cloud-based application allowing clinics and medical professionals to manage all their urgent interpretation requests. Our interpreters are available 24/7 for certified ASL, Spanish, and hundreds of other languages. This makes Interprenet On-Demand the perfect solution for any emergency room or clinic that provides 24-hour care.
Every year, emergency rooms across the United States receive nearly 136 million patient visits on average. If eight percent of these visits are from patients with limited English proficiency - the percentage of the US-LEP population - then every year, ERs across the nation arguably treat as many as 27 million people (about the population of Texas) who struggle to communicate in English.
By investing in on-demand interpretation, healthcare providers can swiftly meet the needs of their LEP patients, reduce lengths of stay, and decrease the number of 30-day readmissions. Interprenet On-Demand offers a modern, secure, and scalable cloud-based system to deliver all remote interpretation requests in real time.
Additional benefits include:
- Ultra high-speed technology that connects physicians to professional interpreters over the phone or video in seconds, with the average at 13.5 seconds
- High-definition video remote interpreting experience
- Connect on any mobile device (iOS or Android) or on any laptop or PC.
- Access the largest, most diverse interpreter network available on-demand across all time zones supporting over 300 languages.
- Is compliant with all major healthcare reforms and supports data sovereignty for patient rights
- Detailed usage analytics, reporting and smart per-minute billing
By utilizing on-demand interpretation services, medical providers can enhance patient outcomes, promote cultural sensitivity, and bridge the language gap in healthcare. With Interprenet On-Demand, we have transformed the way interpretating services can be accessed and used in healthcare facilities and clinics at any time, in any language, and on any device.
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