General practitioners and other general healthcare professionals are currently not using interpreters to bridge communication between themselves and non-English speaking patients due to the high cost, minimum fees and wait times that are applied. Normal and customary reimbursements from insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid have already reduced revenue to the point of not being able to cover overhead to treat a patient, along with the Title VI Civil Rights Act to provide an interpreter adds cost to the appointment making a physician lose money on the appointment.
So therefore, these medical providers chose not to use a professional interpreting service, allowing staff, family or even choosing not to use an interpreter to get by only increasing the risk of inaccurate communication between the professional and patient. This option opens the door for misunderstandings of patient symptoms, physician instructions or medications, resulting in extended appointments or numerous return visits.
Many hospitals have been experiencing this for some time and have engaged in using Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to improve efficiencies in delivering quality patient care. Current interpreting industry standards of minimum time/fee requirements associated with having an on-site interpreter made hospitals look to VRI to reduce those times and fees. In client studies we determined an interpreter is only 40% efficient in various encounters within the facility. Meaning, for an hour long minimum interpreting appointment the interpreter is only actually used 40% of the time. This is also due in part to the actual time being required for patient communication due to wait times within the facility. With the use of VRI these hospitals now have computer access to an interpreter at a click of a button, allowing immediate access to the interpreter bridging communication with the patient increasing the efficiency of the interpreter to almost 100% and reducing overall interpreting cost, by engaging them only when communication is needed.
VRI allows the same advantage for small to medium sized medical facilities! It has not been seriously looked at by these facilities due to lack of knowledge about VRI, requirements and cost. All facilities, regardless of size, can now have VRI giving them this same immediate access to an interpreter. By using an existing computer to have this technology available for improved patient communication with very low or any startup cost. Patient Confidentiality is always a concern; VRI provides a secured video conference connection between the office and interpreter meeting all HIPAA requirements. One of the critical things to manage in many facilities is keeping doctors on schedule, if communication is delayed due to not having an interpreter, the doctor now is causing other patients to wait or not seen at all. With VRI all professionals have the ability to experience the following benefits of VRI:
– Reduced risk of miss-communication.
– Increased efficiencies.
– Skilled interpreters in the moment.
– No minimum fees.
– Reduction of cost.
– Reduce waiting time for unscheduled appointments.
– No expensive equipment needed.
– Provide communication support available 24/7/365.
The medical world is competitive while delivering quality patient care is changing and demanding, how the patient is communicated with is one major component to enhancing patient care, this communication cannot be low priority or jeopardized to avoid risk. The competitiveness of the Medical world has challenges on a facility that some think are not sustainable or can cause them to be non-existent, supplying interpreters, supporting a non-English community can have the opposite effect on a facility if effectively used. If an Ethnic population knows they can come to your facility and get quality patient care and communication, they will be very loyal, bring more business to you. With VRI you can provide professional interpreters without putting the financial future of your facility at risk and most importantly improve your patient care and visibility in your community!