Addressing healthcare organizations' concerns about video remote interpreting.

In a hospital setting, access to quality on-demand interpreting can be a matter of life and death. Interpreters must be able to relay information to physicians quickly and accurately under intense pressure while remaining calm and reassuring.

Many hospitals use onsite interpreters, but this isn’t always practical or cost effective, particularly when a patient needs an interpreter immediately, or the patient speaks a language that is less common. In these scenarios, video remote interpreting (VRI) can be a lifeline. More hospitals are using video technology to supplement onsite interpreting.

Here are five common concerns hospitals have as they contemplate VRI:

Our Information Won’t Be Secure

Considering the sensitivity of patient information that may be relayed through an interpreter, security is an understandable apprehension. Hospitals should be sure any video remote interpreting VRI technology they implement uses end-to-end encryption that meets HIPAA requirements.

To ensure interpreters protect private information, those who are not employed by the hospital must follow a confidentiality agreement. They also should undergo HIPAA training.

It Will Have Poor Audio and Visual Quality

The Affordable Care Act Section 1557 specifies that video and audio used to provide language access must be “free, accurate and timely” and meet certain standards of quality. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point where it’s possible to find a VRI solution with such high-quality video and audio that it feels like an in-person conversation.

Our Wi-Fi Won’t Sustain It

To offer the same advantages of an on-site interpreter, video must be accessible within seconds and have the bandwidth to meet patients’ needs without interruption or delays. Hospitals use many different devices that compete for bandwidth, and upgrading their wireless network isn’t always a top priority. LanguageLine’s(R) implementation support team is able to work with hospitals so that wireless connectivity is a non-issue.

It Won’t Satisfy Patients’ Demands

Many patients with disabilities are used to advocating for themselves or having others serve as advocates for them.

It’s understandable, then, that some patients insist on an on-site interpreter who is available to them at all times during their stay. This isn’t always realistic or cost-effective, and VRI  can help hospitals find a middle ground. For instance, they can provide an on-site interpreter during the hours when the patient is likely to be awake and offer one-touch access VRI if the patient needs to speak with someone during the night.

It’s an Added Cost We Won’t Recoup

Rather than viewing video technology as an added cost, hospital leadership should understand it is an investment that will help manage expenses. Many video solutions, including LanguageLine Video InterpretingSM, are charge-by-the-minute, so clients only pay for what they use. Video technology allows hospitals to treat patients more efficiently and with greater customer satisfaction, reduce readmissions, serve new populations, and remain in compliance.

Using VRI reduced readmission rates for Seton Healthcare Family, the largest hospital network in Central Texas. Demonstrating this positive outcome allowed the hospital to receive funding through the state’s Medicaid 1115 Waiver program.

VRI is a powerful tool that can help hospitals improve outcomes, reduce costs, and achieve positive ROI. Many are already using our LanguageLine VRI, which allows patients and physicians to connect with interpreters in more than 40 languages, including American Sign Language.

About LanguageLine 

LanguageLine has been the world leader in innovative language-access solutions since 1982. The company sets the global standard for phone, video, and onsite interpreting, as well as translation of the written word. LanguageLine is trusted by more than 30,000 clients to enable communication with the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing communities. LanguageLine provides the industry’s fastest and most dependable access to more than 35,000 professional linguists in 290-plus languages — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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