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How VRI Has Changed the Face of Healthcare

In the field of healthcare, new technology pushes advancement in terms of care, heightened patient engagement and elevated patient-provider communication. One such technology is video remote interpreting (VRI), which has significantly impacted language access services in healthcare for the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HOH) patient population, with the implementation of secure, HIPAA compliant VRI. Here’s how VRI is transforming the face of healthcare.

Convenient and Easy to Use

With VRI, healthcare providers can reach a medically qualified interpreter with just a few presses of a button. The immediacy and clarity of this communication has been shown to increase patient satisfaction with care among LEP and Deaf/HOH patients, as shown in a recent study by the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA).

VRI is changing healthcare

In addition, medically qualified interpreters possess cultural competency, medical terminology, code of ethics and professional standards to accurately and completely convey what is said in both the source and target languages. VRI also offers healthcare providers access to a wider range of languages that may not be available on-site. This is particularly valuable as language diversity continues to grow and requests for languages of lesser diffusion are encountered more frequently.

A Continuous and Easy Flow of Information

In accordance with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, all patients must be informed about their health condition, medication, and post discharge follow up plan in a way they can understand. With VRI, providers are equipped to easily maintain open patient-provider communication, ensuring immediate and meaningful access to healthcare information for LEP and Deaf/HOH patients. Patients who experience strong patient-provider communication are more likely to be actively engaged in their healthcare plans, resulting in a better patient outcome.

Deciding When to Use VRI Versus OPI

Hospitals and health systems have developed interpretation delivery models with guidelines on when to use VRI as opposed to on-site or over-the-phone interpreting (OPI). Varying factors include the size of the hospital, the size of the LEP population it serves, the total resources available and how often certain languages are encountered. OPI is preferred for quick and easy conversations, such as appointment setting or prescription refills. Onsite and VRI are preferred for encounters that rely more on nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions or body language.

How VRI Stands Apart

VRI combines the benefits of face-to-face interpretation with the on-demand nature of OPI and is an effective language barrier solution because it is instant, mobile and cost-effective. It also increases interpreter productivity by eliminating travel time and cost. In emergency situations, when a medically qualified interpreter in the language needed is not immediately available, VRI can be particularly valuable. Depending on the communication requirements of the patient, providers can instantly connect Deaf/HOH patients with an American Sign Language (ASL) or Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) over video. If an on-site interpreter is preferred, the ASL or CDI will continue to interpret over video. If an on-site interpreter is preferred, the ASL or CDI will continue to interpret over video and transition the conversation over to the in-person interpreter once he or she has arrived on-site.

Technology drives efficiency, increases productivity, evokes collaboration, improves cost management and heightens security. In the realm of language access in healthcare, technology enables healthcare providers to reach a medically qualified interpreter in the language instantly they need on-demand over video with video remote interpreting.