Why using an interpreter for patients promotes patient safety

We know having a medical interpreter for patients promotes patient safety, but why?

For years, it has been widely recognized in the United States that culture has a significant influence on shaping people’s perceptions and experiences of health and health care and on how, whether as the providers or the recipients of care—they make sense of, give meaning to, and respond to their experiences. Over the past decade, and in keeping with what has been described as a new ‘global agenda’ for patient safety in health care, there has been an excessive amount of research done on the topic of patient safety.

By utilizing interpretation in the healthcare system, it advocates effective communication between limited – English proficient (LEP), Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients and providers. Trained medical interpreters whether they be in-person, over the phone or a video remote interpreter, provide the necessary communication between healthcare professionals and LEP patients effectively. Although VRI interpreters are more convenient, all increase the quality of patient care, patient satisfaction, and supports patient safety.

medical interpretation for patients

So what is the link between having a medical interpreter for patients and better patient safety?

First, and foremost, the growing number of LEP patients in the United States and the demand for qualified healthcare interpreters has grown significantly over the years. So today, we have a few important facts we’re sharing with you that have linked medical interpretation to patient safety over the years.

  1. According to the US Census Bureau, about 21% of the United States population does not have high English proficiency. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports over 350 languages spoken in U.S. homes.  
  2. Within 10 years, (2000 – 2010), the Hispanic-origin population increased by 43%, according to the US Census Bureau, which equal more than half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the country during that decade.
  3. Alongside the hispanic population, the Asian population has also increased by 43.3% in the United States, making it the fastest growing major racial group.
  4. When communicating with their healthcare providers, LEP patients have difficulty understanding their condition, including how to manage their condition, when to take their medications and how to recognize their symptoms.
  5. When a trained medical interpreter is involved, it can reduce errors when it comes to caring for patients with limited English proficiency.
  6. Because of the use of video remote interpreters and on-site interpreting, the odds of a clinically significant error were about 75% lower in visits with these interpreters involved.

Over the years, and leading up to today research has proven that the use of professional VRI or on-site interpreters positively impacts patient care. Healthcare interpreters are a valued part of the healthcare community. Like healthcare providers, professional interpreters’ work provides critical language access that saves lives, help keep patients at ease, and protects patients’ health and well-being.

Boostlingo can help promote patient safety with medical interpretation:

Boostlingo provides access to interpreting services to healthcare providers all over the globe. We make it easier and more affordable for providers to access a medical interpreter virtually, on-demand.

At Boostlingo, we are dedicated to improving all healthcare communication with high quality calls for every patient. Patients and healthcare providers will remain at ease 24/7, with access and support to professional resources.