Video remote interpreting services can help you significantly improve patient care by improving patient communication, increasing patient participation in their health care, delivering more language coverage, and improving patient safety all at a lower per patient encounter cost compared to traditional in-person language interpreting services.
We had a kid that was crashing and it was VERY helpful to have the interpreter available. We just had the interpreter right next to the family, while the PICU physician, SW, and ED physician went back and forth updating the family on what was happening, and what was going to happen with their baby. It relieved a lot of the mother’s anxiety!!!
Katrina, Nurse, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital
Research suggests that limited English proficiency patients and their families choose hospitals primarily on the perceived quality of the hospital’s language interpreting services. Providing access to a video remote interpreter can improve patient care in several other ways:
Informed consent is legally and ethically required before invasive medical procedures. Obtaining that consent is made more complex by language barriers. Studies show that limited English proficiency (LEP) patients are only half as likely to have full documentation of informed consent compared to English-speaking patients.
Patients who do not speak English at home have more difficulty participating in their own health care. They have more difficulty understanding information from their doctor, and the language barrier can negatively impact patient-provider communication.
Doctors who are unable to communicate effectively to their limited English proficiency patients sometimes compensate by engaging in costly practices such as:
- Ordering more diagnostic tests
- Performing more invasive procedures
- Over-prescribing medications
Video remote interpreting from InDemand provides a cost effective way to overcome these issues, resulting in greater patient satisfaction.
The evidence is clear that patients that do not receive adequate language access receive poorer quality care, both overall and particularly in emergency departments. According to a study carried out by the Joint Commision, fully half of LEP patients who reported adverse events experienced some degree of physical harm, and the rate at which LEP patients suffered permanent or severe harm or death was twice that of English-speaking patients.
It’s also not enough to simply provide any interpreter. Hospitals must provide qualified, well-trained interpreters. A study by Glenn Flores of the Medical College of Wisconsin found an average of 31 mistakes per doctor-patient visit, two-thirds of which could have negative consequences for patients.
A new NHELP study, The High Costs of Language Barriers in Medical Malpractice, analyzes 35 cases from just one medical malpractice carrier. These cases resulted in some significantly poor outcomes for limited English proficiency patients:
- Several cases resulted in patients suffering death and irreparable harm. Two children and three adults died. In one case, the deceased
child was used as an interpreter before suffering respiratory arrest. In another, the deceased child’s 16-year-old sibling was used as the
interpreter. One patient was rendered comatose, one underwent a leg amputation, and a child suffered major organ damage.
- In 32 of the 35 cases, the health care providers did not use competent interpreters.
- Twelve of the claims involved the failure to translate important documents such as informed consent forms and discharge instructions.
- Nearly all the cases demonstrated poor documentation of a patient’s limited English proficiency or the need for an interpreter (as well as
documentation of other basic information).
Again, video interpreting from InDemand can greatly improve these patient outcomes and avoid these kind of adverse events. Video remote interpreting is fast, always available, and never late or misses an appointment. It’s also cost-effective, and will deliver better more consistent service at a lower cost per patient encounter. For more information, fill out the form below.