How Can Limited-English Speakers Use Telehealth Services?

In response to COVID-19, the U.S. government has expanded access to telehealth to include more people than ever. Unfortunately, one group is often left out of the conversation on how to use it: limited English proficient populations (LEPs).


Even when limited-English speaking patients have access to the internet, most video conferencing platforms weren’t built with their needs in mind. And this disconnect directly impacts their ability to receive healthcare. For example, a University of California primary care clinic saw the number of non-English speaking patients drop by 50% once they switched to telehealth.


So, how can limited-English speakers access the telehealth services they need? Through a platform that enables remote interpreting, of course!


Remote Interpreting and Telehealth 


There are two types of remote interpreting: video remote interpreting (VRI) and over-the-phone interpreting (OPI). Video remote interpreting often works best for several reasons, including:


  • Healthcare professionals can see patients and gather more information about their physical health.
  • Interpreters can evaluate facial expressions and body language to help them clarify what a patient is trying to say.
  • Deaf patients who communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) can use it to access telehealth services.
  • VRI can help health care professionals build trust with patients because they’re speaking “face-to-face”.


Yet OPI still has its place. Patients who either don’t have internet or live in an area without high speed internet won’t be able to use VRI. Other patients may not be comfortable on a video call and would prefer to use audio-only.


Ideally, the telehealth platform you choose should include both options to ensure all patients can use it. Keep in mind that some patients may not be comfortable with technology and are likely new to using telehealth. That means any platform you choose should be as user-friendly as possible.


A Simple, Secure Solution


With Boostlingo, patients can seamlessly connect with a remote interpreter via video call or over the phone. They get on-demand access to interpreters who know over 300 languages—including American Sign Language. And they don’t need to be tech-savvy, either. There’s no need to install software. They just join a call via a link, SMS, or email.


But our platform is not only easy-to-use, it’s one of the most secure options available. Unlike video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Skype, Boostlingo is HIPAA-compliant and provides the data security and privacy features that keep patient information secure.


Making the Switch


Now that you know a little more about Boostlingo, why not give it a try? Contact us today to schedule your free demo!