COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Latino communities across the United States. In a recent NPR interview, Dr. Joseph Betancourt of Massachusetts General Hospital cites two troubling statistics: Latinos are hospitalized at 4X the rate of White Americans and make up 26% of the deaths.
Why the Coronavirus Hits Latino Communities Harder
Several factors, including the virus’ long incubation period, have created a perfect storm, according to Dr. Betancourt. First, Latinos are more likely to be essential workers, which increases their risk of exposure. They also tend to live in densely populated areas and often live with extended family, making it easier for the virus to spread.
However, these aren’t the only reasons COVID-19 has taken a stronghold. Unfortunately, Latinos are also more likely to:
- Suffer from pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
- Have less access to healthcare.
- Face immigration issues that deter them from seeking care.
- Experience language barriers in healthcare settings.
How to Improve Healthcare Outcomes
While investment in public health and changes to immigration policy are necessary for long-term improvements, there are several ways healthcare providers can help today. Dr. Betancourt recommends:
- Getting public health messages out in ways the Latino communities understand, preferably from trusted speakers.
- Building trust by acknowledging mistakes experts have made, such as discouraging the use of face masks.
- Making healthcare more culturally and linguistically competent.
That last point is especially important for healthcare professionals who are battling Coronavirus on the front lines. Medical interpreters have traditionally arrived onsite to help patients and healthcare providers communicate, yet that’s not longer a safe option during the pandemic. Here’s where telehealth and remote interpreting come in.
How to Safely Bridge the Language Gap
Boostlingo’s over-the-phone interpreting and video remote interpreting options make it easy to connect with a qualified Spanish-speaking interpreter in seconds. Patients can speak with a medical professional in their native language at home via telehealth or in a hospital setting, without putting the interpreter at risk.
Our new video conferencing feature allows multiple parties in different locations to join the call to ensure the best possible outcomes. For example, a doctor who’s treating a patient with a pre-existing condition may want to invite a specialist to the call. Or a caretaker may need to speak with a doctor or nurse about treatment options and precautions to take. Plus, it’s easy to use! Our HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform requires no installation, and users never need to login. Because we’ve designed it with limited-English speakers in mind, your patients no longer have to shy away from telehealth.
Want to learn more about how Boostlingo can help you improve patient care? Contact us today to schedule your free demo!