The explosion of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has left medical professionals scrambling to treat the sick while begging the public to “flatten the curve”. Yet misinformation about how to do so is abound. Even the fact-checking website Snopes is unable to keep up.

Lack of accurate information and access to care puts everyone at risk. And that’s especially true for communities with large Limited English Populations (LEPs), where language barriers impact multicultural patient care. Fortunately, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) can help.

 

Benefits of Video Remote Interpreting

Although in-person interpreting is often the best option, VRI provides most of the same benefits without putting medical professionals, patients, and interpreters at risk. Here’s how:

  • The VRI platform is a telehealth system, which allows doctors to communicate with LEP patients and maintain social distancing.
  • Interpreters can still read facial expressions and body language, which allows them to clarify what patients are saying.
  • Patients often feel more comfortable discussing symptoms when they can see the interpreter.

The Unique Challenges of Multicultural Patient Care

However, VRI is only one tool to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Medical professionals must be aware of the challenges in LEP communities that prevent people from getting tested and receiving treatment.

 

Differing Views on Medical Care

Due to cultural differences, patients may have different views about seeking medical care and following through with treatment. You may need to:

  • Ensure they understand the importance of self-quarantine.
  • Emphasize the importance of Informing family, friends, and co-workers who may have been exposed to do the same—even if they don’t have symptoms.
  • Provide them with reliable resources in their own language (websites, hotlines, etc.).

 

Fears About Medical Costs

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23% of non-elderly legal immigrants are uninsured as are 45% of undocumented immigrants. Patients may need to speak with someone about their coverage options via an interpreter. In California, for example, even undocumented immigrants qualify for emergency Medi-Cal.

 

Fears About Immigration Status

Undocumented immigrants may resist getting tested due to fears of being deported. You may need to ensure undocumented patients understand that health records are confidential, and seeking care won’t put them at risk for deportation.

Multi-Generational Households Are More Common

As of 2016, 29% of Asians, 27% of Hispanics and 26% of blacks lived in multigenerational households, compared to 16% of whites. In communities with large LEPs, patients and their caretakers may live with elderly family members or with someone who has a compromised immune system.

Always explain best practices for disinfecting the home and for protecting elderly or immunocompromised family members. And be sure to give caretakers the opportunity to speak through an interpreter, if they need one.

 

Final Thoughts on VRI

VRI not only helps patients communicate with medical professionals, but it can help inform LEP communities about how to stay safe and reduce the spread of misinformation. If you’d like to know more about your options, contact Boostlingo today.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on global society, hospital supplies are running short, beds are full, and doctors and nurses are working 72-hour shifts to fill the need for their onslaught of patients. The scrambling to serve all of those inflicted by the consequences of the virus has been and will continue to be part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. Life for many has transitioned into virtual reality for the time-being, while hospitals and healthcare organizations more than anything are feeling the heat of this global crisis.

 

As we watch the world try to figure out what to do, we must ready ourselves in the interpretation industry to offer swift and efficient services to those in need. Luckily, we happen to have a vast network of medically-prepared and trained interpreters in more than 200+ languages. The Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network is ready to help!

Hospitals are inevitably avoiding bringing in non-medical staff whenever possible, which means Limited English Proficient patients will need interpretation services outside the hospital. The often on-site or in-person interpreting will need to take a backseat to remote interpreting to help diminish the spread of the virus in general.

What can we do to ensure patients are getting the best care possible? We are prepared with a robust network of interpreters managed by trusted Language Service Agency partners. Video Remote Interpreting provides a unique alternative to in-person interpreting in times like these especially. The visual communication factor provides a level of human touch that a simple phone line cannot.

Additionally, those healthcare institutions who are hiring interpreters, need to make sure these professionals are highly trained and ready to work at any time. Knowing what to be ready for is difficult in these circumstances, and the level of preparedness appears to vary from state to state, city to city, hospital to hospital, and from individual to individual. So, in these cases Boostlingo is looking at every circumstance carefully.

Boostlingo, as widely adopted Interpreting Technology Platform in the Language Industry and Video Communication Market today, is fully equipped for this pandemic. The Boostlingo platform was developed to help Language Service Organizations of any size, scale their interpretation business quickly and efficiently. At this time, Language Service Organizations are experiencing a high demand for their healthcare interpreters.

By working together and using technology, interpreters will play a key role in slowing the spread of the virus. A rapid, global medical response could greatly mitigate the economic and social costs of global pandemics, as well as reducing loss of life. This result, however, would only be possible if everyone is on board and doing their jobs efficiently.

Coronavirus

Due to current public health concerns regarding the recent global outbreak of the Coronavirus, health care providers are most definitely going to see an increase in the number of limited english proficient patient visits. A limited english proficient patient (LEP patient) or person is an individual who does not speak English as their primary language and who has a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. If a patient is an LEP patient, it is important for healthcare providers to utilize the interpretation tools and services so that they can provide their patients with the language access they need. In fact, video remote interpreting is the most common way to help your LEP patients and can help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. 

There are now eleven confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the United States. However, the Chinese government has reported nearly 20,500 confirmed cases. More than 400 people have died. While the virus began in Wuhan, it has spread to several other international cities. Which means, US healthcare providers need to be prepared in every way possible and be able to treat and communicate with every patient that may come through. 

 

VRI Can Help

When treating Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients, it is highly recommended for healthcare providers to add a video remote interpreter to the communication session. VRI is a very important tool when it comes to working with patients who do not speak English. 

Additionally, VRI can help reduce the spread of infection. Healthcare facilities can take steps to limit exposure by using VRI to communicate with their patients rather than meeting them in person. This can enable patients to manage symptoms at home, and keep them from coming into the healthcare facility unless needed. 

Public health scares can be difficult and stressful for everyone, but it can cause even more strain for Limited English Proficient (LEP). In a situation like this, if there is poor planning to provide language access it can lead to miscommunications that have clinical consequences, health disparities for LEP patients, unfortunate health outcomes and lawsuits.  

 

Boostlingo is here to help. We provide access to interpreters, and interpretation platforms 24/7. For more information visit: https://boostlingo.com/