How Video and Telephonic Interpretation Is Saving Healthcare Providers Time and Money

telephonic interpretation for healthcare

As a healthcare provider, you want to provide the best services possible for any patient that needs them, during routine visits as well as emergencies. When it comes to healthcare, it is critical to be able to communicate effectively. You must be able to discuss and clearly determine why the person is seeking healthcare, what medical history might impact their current condition, and what concerns they may have. You also must be sure that the patient fully understands any diagnoses or medical treatments recommended.

Miscommunications in the health field can result in serious complications. As we reported previously, U.S. Census Data revealed that there are currently over 350 spoken languages in the United States alone. To provide the best care for all your patients, interpretation services can help bridge any communication gaps quickly and effectively.

What Is Video and Telephonic Interpretation?

Telephonic interpretation services allow patients and medical personnel to connect by phone to an interpreter that is fluent in both parties’ primary language. The interpreter converts one party’s spoken language into the other party’s language and back again, allowing both to understand one another and communicate fluently. Video interpretation adds another layer of comfort for interpretation services. This feature allows both parties to clearly see the translator, which can be beneficial in circumstances where tone and context are critical

Medical interpretation services can provide streamlined interpreting or translation quickly and efficiently.[1]Lundin, C., Hadziabdic, E., & Hjelm, K. (2018). Language interpretation conditions and boundaries in multilingual and multicultural emergency healthcare. BMC International Health and Human … Continue reading With a simple phone call, you can be connected with a qualified professional who is fluent in a patient’s primary language. Eliminating the language barrier can help put the person at ease. They will be able to trust that everything they are discussing is understood completely by both themselves and the provider. Video interpretation services may also offer relief, as patients can now see someone who can communicate in their primary language. For those who may need sign language services, video remote interpreting services are extremely beneficial to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.[2]Kushalnagar, P., Paludneviciene, R., & Kushalnagar, R. (2019). Video remote interpreting technology in health care: cross-sectional study of deaf patients’ experiences. JMIR Rehabilitation and … Continue reading

Interpreting services connect you with a real-life person who has the experience and qualifications needed to provide expert interpretation for several different languages. Whether you need someone to interpret during a simple office visit or a high-tension emergency service, you and the patient can connect with a skilled interpreter who knows the importance of detailed and clear interpretation services. No matter what the situation might be, both parties can proceed with clear communication at a moment’s notice.

Why Use Medical Interpretation Services?

medical interpretation services

When it comes to the field of healthcare, miscommunication can have serious repercussions. Misunderstood symptoms or concerns can cause missed diagnoses, wrong diagnoses, inaccurate medication dosages, and more. This access to high-quality, certified interpreters with medical knowledge is extremely valuable. Communication barriers can impact your ability to meet the expected standard of care when your patients need it most. When that barrier is erased, you can respond quickly and provide medical care that fits your patients’ needs and ensures their wellbeing.

Medical interpretation services are beneficial for medical professionals and patients alike.[3]Wensing, M., & Grol, R. (2019). Knowledge translation in health: how implementation science could contribute more. BMC medicine, 17(1), 1-6. Whether you are a receptionist, nurse, doctor, or other medical staff, it is crucial that you and your patient fully understand one another, even during routine or follow-up visits. Your record must be accurate, and it is crucial to know if you must be mindful of allergies, co-occurring conditions, or other medical history items that could factor into the care you provide. As a medical provider, you can simply provide better, more personalized care when you have accurate information from the start.

Language barriers can be even more frustrating for patients, especially when they are already experiencing stress regarding their health. Medical interpretation services can help to make sure that the patient feels at ease, and secure that they have developed a clear understanding of their own condition and your instructions when it comes to diagnoses, therapies, treatments, or prescriptions. A medical interpreter can help communicate the patient’s feelings regarding specific medical treatments or concerns about existing health issues.

Skilled Medical Interpretation Services Can Help You Save

Medical interpreters available at the touch of a button via phone or video can provide you and the patient with multiple savings. Read on to see how medical interpreters can help.

Video and Telephonic Interpretation Services Saves Lives

Whether you provide emergent or routine medical services, it is important to establish clear communication with your patient.[4]Venkatesan, T., Naqvi, D., & Patel, B. (2022). Deconstructing language barriers in healthcare: where are we going wrong? Postgraduate Medical Journal, 98(1157), 157-158. Without it, you risk misunderstanding symptoms, medical history, allergies, critical events leading up to the patient’s need for care, and more. Meanwhile, your patient risks inaccurate completion of crucial medical history forms, misunderstanding treatment or prescription instructions, and more.

Clear communication and medical translation services ensure that all medical paperwork is fully understood and completed successfully, and your diagnoses and treatment plans are as accurate as possible. In many healthcare situations, time is of the essence, especially when you work in emergent care. As a healthcare provider, having a system in place to provide interpretation services quickly and efficiently can help to eliminate mistakes and provide the proper care when it is needed. With this increased accuracy and efficiency, lives are saved.

How Video and Telephonic Interpretation Saves You Time

Here in the United States, a large portion of our population speaks English. However, the number of Spanish language speakers continues to grow every day, recently exceeding 37 million people in the U.S.[5]Nathenson, R. A., Saloner, B., Richards, M. R., & Rhodes, K. V. (2016). Spanish‐speaking immigrants’ access to safety net providers and translation services across traditional and emerging US … Continue reading In many instances, your patient may have a fluent bilingual individual available, but this isn’t always the case.

Of course, Spanish isn’t the only other language spoken by those in need of medical services. With hundreds of spoken languages, it is nearly impossible to ensure that your facility always has a live interpreter on staff; similarly, it isn’t wise to count on other patients to provide interpretation—you need access to interpreters at a moment’s notice available throughout your facility. For example, if you encounter a Japanese patient who was just involved in a car accident, numerous departments must be able to communicate with the patient to provide exceptional care. This involves 911 services such as dispatch, emergency responders, and even the fire department. From there, every department within the hospital should be able to communicate effectively to put the patient at ease and provide the necessary medical care.

Without a reliable interpretation service available at each point in a patient’s care, you are forced to spend time looking for an interpreter. If you don’t have an existing plan, this can take a significant amount of time—or your patient may go without interpretation at all. On-demand, quality interpretation services can get patients the communication and care they need immediately.

How Video and Telephonic Interpretation Saves You Money

Without an interpretation service, your facility or practice must hire an interpreter to staff on an hourly basis—and that interpreter is not likely to be able to cover all your interpretation needs. With an interpretation service, you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect match for your facility’s language and scheduling needs.

Since you only pay for interpretation services when you need them, you can allocate excess funds for equipment and other beneficial services. In addition, your staff can stay focused on the task at hand instead of using precious time searching for an interpreter or unsuccessfully communicating with patients.

Whether your facility involves dentistry, physical therapy, mental health services, emergency services, or family medical appointments, you also stand to experience an increase in your patients due to your interpretation capabilities. People prefer to be able to communicate in their primary language, especially when it comes to medical concerns. If word spreads that your office is willing to accommodate those needs, more may desire to seek your services.

Telephonic and Video Interpretation Are Beneficial for All Medical Applications

video interpretation for healthcare

In healthcare, communication is key in all situations. Dental offices, clinics, private practices, fire and rescue, paramedics, and even 911 dispatch can all benefit from improved communication with patients of all origins. Unfortunately, finding a live interpreter can waste critical time that the patient may simply not have. A reliable telephonic interpretation service is available 24/7 for your interpretation needs.

For example, interpreters can help to relay crucial information to an emergency responder on the spot, ensuring the best chance of effective medical care. You can have a telephonic interpreter at a moment’s notice via phone, or video remote interpreting services with the help of an iPad or other tablet. The interpreter can exhibit the care and compassion necessary to reassure the caller in an emergency, including ensuring every detail has been heard and communicated to begin proper care. Interpretation can also help you secure permission from each patient before beginning care. In this way, interpretation services can help fire and rescue, dispatchers, and more save lives as well as provide exceptional patient care in both non-emergency and emergency situations.

What You Can Expect from a Qualified Medical Interpreter

When it comes to exceptional healthcare interpretation services, it is critical to use an interpreter who is qualified to provide medical interpretations. Even English-speaking patients can have difficulty understanding medical jargon, pharmaceutical names, and diagnoses. When you add the additional hurdle of a language barrier, vital information can be lost. A qualified medical interpreter understands the jargon necessary to translate in a medical situation and has the ability to stay calm in high pressure or emergency circumstances.

The interpreter must also have training to understand how to handle difficult or sensitive patient information. A qualified medical interpreter providing video interpretation knows techniques to help keep a patient at ease. Being calm and ensuring understanding from both parties can help medical providers make quick decisions, which can be vital in an emergency medical situation.

In emergencies, emotions can run high, which can make understanding a foreign language even more difficult. A skilled medical interpreter will be able to keep up, as well as push their own emotions aside to communicate vital information.

Finally, many medical interpretation services also offer medical translation services as an ancillary support. Ensuring medical forms are completed accurately and confidentiality is crucial for any medical provider. Translation of these vital documents or written notifications you must give your patients can help further eliminate the language barrier and improve care in the moment and moving forward.

Save Time, Money, and Most Importantly, Lives

Lifesaving Interpreter

The demand to provide interpretation services will only continue to increase as national healthcare expands. As a medical professional, providing these interpretation services can help save lives, especially in emergency situations.

Medical interpretation services can quickly bridge any language gaps, ensuring the accurate care and increased comfort of the patient. Patients will benefit from being able to communicate their medical concerns in their own language with ease. Medical professionals will benefit from knowing that their questions, suggestions, and medical treatment options are clearly understood. Bridging the communication gap is crucial to providing the timely, accurate evaluations, diagnoses, and treatments all patients deserve.

References

References
1 Lundin, C., Hadziabdic, E., & Hjelm, K. (2018). Language interpretation conditions and boundaries in multilingual and multicultural emergency healthcare. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 18(1), 1-14.
2 Kushalnagar, P., Paludneviciene, R., & Kushalnagar, R. (2019). Video remote interpreting technology in health care: cross-sectional study of deaf patients’ experiences. JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies, 6(1), 13233.
3 Wensing, M., & Grol, R. (2019). Knowledge translation in health: how implementation science could contribute more. BMC medicine, 17(1), 1-6.
4 Venkatesan, T., Naqvi, D., & Patel, B. (2022). Deconstructing language barriers in healthcare: where are we going wrong? Postgraduate Medical Journal, 98(1157), 157-158.
5 Nathenson, R. A., Saloner, B., Richards, M. R., & Rhodes, K. V. (2016). Spanish‐speaking immigrants’ access to safety net providers and translation services across traditional and emerging US destinations. The Milbank Quarterly, 94(4), 768-799.

About Kazuki Yamazaki

Director of Interpreter Service Kaz has been in the language industry since 2005. An interpreter himself, he oversees all operations of the Virtual Interpretation Division (OPI/VRI) for Telelanguage Inc. His responsibilities include Recruitment, Staffing and Coverage Coordination, Quality Assurance, and supervision of over 6,000 contracted/employed interpreters. Additionally, he leads our interpreter certification program. Kaz matches the interpreters’ unique skill-sets to specific organizations and customers. He develops and implements recruitment strategies as well as talent retention plans to ensure access to the most qualified interpreters in over 350 languages.