The importance of language services for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts cannot be understated. Language access is an essential tool during the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of November 16th, 2020, there were at least 11.1 million cases of coronavirus (resulting in 246k deaths) in the United States. As the U.S. continues to increase testing while waiting for a vaccine, slowing the spread of the disease is crucial. One key way to slow the spread during the COVID-19 pandemic is through contact tracing. Chances are you’ve already heard about contact tracing. It has been used for decades by state and local health departments to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases.
But what happens when there is a language barrier with an individual who needs information?
1 in 5 United States residents speaks a language other than English at home. Language services for COVID-19 contact tracing are critical to aiding health departments in informing individuals with whom there is a language barrier to their possible exposure to the virus and providing information in the individual’s native language to reduce community spread of the disease. Utilizing language services for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts is essential for refugee and immigrant communities, especially considering that minority communities, including Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In fact, although Hispanics and Latinos make up just 18.3% of the United States population, they make up over 34% of confirmed coronavirus cases.
As we continue to deal with the coronavirus health crisis across the country, it’s important to understand how language services can positively impact contact tracing efforts and reduce health care disparities for LEP communities to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
How Does Contact Tracing Work?
Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by
- Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Helping people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 get tested
- Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
During contact tracing, the health department staff will not ask you for
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
- Salary information
- Credit card numbers
Language Services and Contact Tracing for COVID-19
The Positive Impact of Language Access in Health Care
Language barriers in hospital settings can contribute to avoidable readmissions, including lower rates of outpatient follow-up, use of preventive services, medication adherence, and the ability to understand discharge diagnosis and instructions. The CMS Guide to Reducing Disparities in Readmissions recommends the following for reducing readmission rates for LEP patients.
- Ensure that patients with limited English proficiency are aware of and have access to professional medical interpreter services during inpatient stays, during discharge, and when accessing post-hospital care.
- Communicate discharge instructions in the patient’s preferred language. Provide written materials at an appropriate literacy level (5th grade or lower, as recommended by the Joint Commission) and in the preferred language of the patient and/or caregiver. Simply translating written instructions may be insufficient to ensure patient understanding.
- Include family members and/or caregivers in care as appropriate, work with members of the extended care team (such as community health workers), and coordinate with traditional healers to help facilitate culturally competent care for patients with limited English proficiency.
Translated Materials Provide Information to Reduce Community Spread
Healthcare translations are written translations prepared for numerous healthcare fields. Translated materials play a crucial role in helping state and local health departments communicate effectively with limited English proficient (LEP) patients and communities.
Patients who are limited in their use of the English language must be able to fully understand their health condition, treatment, and follow-up instructions. In addition to healthcare facilities, providing written translations of public health notices, instructions, prevention information, and contact tracing communications is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Increase Use of Professional Language Services for COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communications
Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission. Contact tracing prevents further spread of COVID-19 through:
- Tracing and monitoring contacts of infected people
- Notifying contacts of exposure
- Supporting the safe, sustainable, and effective quarantine of contacts
- Preventing additional transmission
In order to effectively support LEP communities through contact tracing, information must be provided in the language needed to communicate with patients and contacts. In addition to written translation services, Telephonic Interpretation and Video Remote Interpretation can be used to support direct communication
6 Ways Language Services Strengthen COVID-19 Contact Tracing Efforts
- Reduces miscommunication errors
- Raise awareness of public health measures and health information
- Compliance with government regulations and standards
- Help reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst non-English speaking populations
- Increases productivity of contact tracing efforts
- Along with VRI, telephonic interpretation provides a fast response to urgent situations.
Language Access Solutions: How Telelanguage Can Help
Qualified medical interpreters are available 24/7, 365 days a year to overcome language and cultural barriers to ensure patient communication – at every step of a patient’s journey. 70% of Telelanguage clients are health care entities, and we have extensive experience in multiple areas that require the use of medical interpreters and government interpreters.
Health Care Organizations We Help
- Urgent Cares
- Emergency Departments
- Health Insurance
- Medicare Health Plans
- Nursing Homes
- Private Practices
- Community Health Centers
- Home Health Care
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Government Organizations
- 9-1-1 Emergency Services
- Public Health Agencies
- Contact Tracing Communications
Health Care Language Services to Fit Your Needs
When language barriers arise in health care settings, you need a language services provider that can respond quickly to the unique needs of your organization. Telelanguage health care language services provide solutions to improve contact tracing efforts for non-English speaking and LEP communities. Certified Medical interpreters are available 24/7/365 days a year.
- Telephonic Interpretation
- Video Remote Interpretation
- On-Site Interpretation
- Translation Services
Over-the-Phone Interpretation is an on-demand, remote interpreting service that offers a fast response when urgent or unexpected language barriers come up. Available at a low per-minute rate, Telephonic Interpreting allows health departments and health care providers to connect to an interpreter in seconds, in over 350 languages. Telelanguage offers the fastest connect times in the industry with an average connect time of 7 seconds, and is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Video Remote Interpreting
Video Remote Interpreting is an on-demand interpretation solution that bridges the gap between over-the-phone interpreting and on-site interpreting.
Benefits of Video Remote Interpreting: Download the Free Whitepaper!
For health care providers utilizing telehealth technology or video conferencing, VRI allows you to easily connect to a live, medically-trained video interpreter in seconds, adding visual support of your interpreter to help the conversation for you and your patients.
Simple, seamless, and secure, Telelanguage’s robust Video Remote Interpretation platform connects your LEP patients to certified medical interpreters through one simple application in seconds, accessible from any PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Telelanguage has the capacity to translate documents, including COVID-19 communications, from English to over 100 target languages and vice versa. Telelanguage only uses Translators that have Native Fluency in both the Target Language and English, and all translations are performed by a subject-matter expert.
Commonly Translated Documents Include:
- Notices of Free Language Assistance
- Notice of Eligibility
- Discharge Instructions
- Intake Forms
- Complaint Forms
- Informed Consent Documents
- Clinical Protocols
- Case Report Forms
- Marketing Collateral
- Prescription Labels
- COVID-19 Notices
COVID-19 Language Support: No Contract Required Language Services
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Telelanguage is offering all new contracts our language interpretation and translation services with no contract required.
Confidentiality and Compliance in Health Care Settings
Confidentiality and security of patient information are critical to language access in any health care setting. Telelanguage provides 100% HIPAA compliant services, providing meaningful language access in in health care settings and compliance to meet the requirements of:
- Affordable Care Act, Section 1557 (ACA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA)
- Protected Health Information (PHI)
- The Joint Commission
Why Health Care Providers are Switching to Telelanguage
- Medically Trained and Certified Interpreters
- HIPAA Compliant Services
- Lower Cost
- Free Service Trial Programs
- Best-in-Industry Call Volume Discount Plans
- Proprietary Technology
- Quick Interpreter Connect to 350+ Languages
Free Guide to Language Access in Healthcare
Since 1991, Telelanguage has helped thousands of health care organizations to improve language access programs through high-quality medical interpretation services.
This quick eBook resource will help your organization:
- Determine what interpreting solutions are right for your patients.
- Understand how quality language access programs positively impact patient care.
- Maximize your investment in healthcare language services.
Telelanguage has been providing customers with the highest quality of language service since 1991. We support over 350 languages, 24x7x365 utilizing 6,000+ U.S.-based interpreters. Telelanguage currently supports over 8,000 accounts around the world – in all industries. Services include over-the-phone, on-site and video remote interpretation, as well as document translations, interpreter management and scheduling, reporting, invoicing, language assessment evaluations, and much more. Contact us for more information about language support for your organization.
Certified medical interpreters ready to speak in over 350 languages!
Call Telelanguage today at 888-983-5352
Professional interpreter services available telephonically, face to face, or via video remote!