//Over the phone, video or on-site interpreting – which fits best in your Health Care world?

Over the Phone (OPI), Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) or On-site interpreting (OSI) – which mode of interpreting fits best in your Health Care world? A few assumptions around interpreting today are “there are only on-site interpreters”“our facility can’t afford that” or “our staff only wants to use an on-site interpreter”. When these assumptions are there, a couple of things can happen; your staff will chose to not use an interpreter or the staff will always call for an on-site interpreter possibly delaying patient services while waiting for the interpreter to arrive, leading to return visits by the patient, longer patient time in the room with the physician, delaying schedules and decreasing staff efficiencies.

With the increasing demand or need for healthcare interpreting becoming more and more a part of daily healthcare routines, it is important to explore all of the modes of interpreting.  Many medical professionals are not knowledgeable of the various modes of interpreting. Over the Phone, Video and On-site interpreting are all very effective and efficient modes of interpreting helping reduce your risk and increase patient care.

As you develop or review interpreting policies and procedures in your facility you will ask questions like: “When do I know which method is best?”“What is the most cost effective choice for our volume?”“We need to stay efficient with a small staff, what will help us the most?”, or the most important question: “What will help us deliver the highest quality of patient care?”

Does this mean you have to work with three vendors? No. Having a language service provider that offers a suite of services and has the ability to work with you can actually be one of the key parts of your successful program. When you are ready to evaluate your processes it is important to invite your language provider to the table, let them know your challenges, budgets and demands. From there you and your provider work to develop procedures and policies that fit your needs and answer all of your questions.

Once the policies are developed it does not end there! Additional things you need to be sure to include in your policies and procedures are:

– A communication plan to your team.
– Monitoring and measuring usage.
– Training with the equipment.
– Ongoing education.

Language service providers can and should be your best friend and resource, be sure you engage them!