Limited English speakers can use telehealth LanguageLine

The use of telehealth is rapidly expanding, particularly during a health emergency in which the risk of infection is high and the need for care is urgent. But also as an everyday option when the need for in-house care is unnecessary and appointment time is limited, physicians and their patients seek to meet remotely using telehealth solutions via video-conferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, as well as traditional telemedicine platforms.

The question is often asked, “What happens when the patient speaks a foreign language? Can an interpreter be brought into these conversations to assist with a limited English speaker?”

The answer is yes.

A Simple Solution

There is a simple, easy-to-use method for incorporating a professional audio interpreter into a telehealth session. Many leading medical facilities around the country already using this feature.

Most of the video platforms mentioned above can dial out and place an outbound audio call to a third party. Some of these platforms call this feature an “address book.” This feature can be used to dial out to an interpreter.

Seamless Call Flow

The experience for the provider is quite seamless and intuitive. On the video platform interface, they simply click the button that allows for an audio call to a third party. This places an outbound call to LanguageLine, which is answered in seconds.

The caregiver is first connected with our speech-recognition system. They are asked to say the name of the desired language, upon which they are connected to a professional interpreter in seconds. The caregiver and patient can hear the interpreter, but do not see them. These interpreters are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in over 240 spoken languages.

From this point forward, it is a typical interpreting experience. The healthcare provider briefs the interpreter on the situation and then begins addressing the patient.

Set Up Within Days

Telehealth  is readily available to any organization and can be set up within a matter of days. Accessing audio interpreters in this manner is typically uncomplicated, though some support may be needed depending on the platform your organization is using to communicate with remote patients. LanguageLine(R) is pleased to provide this support, as necessary. 

This service is pay-as-you-go. You do not pay for minutes you do not use. Thus, it may be cost-effective for organizations to set this solution in place in the event that it is needed.

Existing LanguageLine clients should contact their account executive to begin the process, which typically takes 1-3 business days.

Non-LanguageLine clients who are interested in this service should contact us via this form or call 800-752-6096. We will quickly assess your needs and immediately provide you with potential solutions.

Interested in Over-the-Phone Interpretation?

Some physicians are conducting telehealth by phone only. Can an interpreter be patched in on such a conversation to provide assistance to a limited English patient? Again, the answer is a resounding "yes." LanguageLine can provide interpreters for this environment. 

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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