How Video Remote Interpreting Improves Children’s Healthcare


Did you know? One in 10 U.S. residents of childbearing age has limited English proficiency (LEP). That means millions of parents face language barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare for their children. Fortunately, video remote interpreting (VRI) can help improve patient outcomes and satisfaction for LEP families. 

In this article, we explore the benefits of VRI in children’s healthcare and see how it compares to other methods of interpretation. 


Los Angeles Children’s Hospital: A Study in VRI


From 2012 to 2017, researchers conducted a study to evaluate the implementation of VRI at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). The healthcare system, which serves patients throughout Southern California, already offered in-person and over-the-phone (OPI) interpretation services. 

Researchers rolled out 165 VRI carts and iPads in clinics, inpatient wards, and the emergency department. Staff in each department received support through six weeks of training and problem-solving issues. Additional rollouts occurred in groups every two to four months.  

Despite some initial challenges, the program was an overwhelming success. Over 50,600 VRI appointments occurred for a total of 556,938 interpretation minutes. Meanwhile, the use of OPI decreased by 37.5%, and the mean wait time for an interpreter fell from 60 minutes to 5 minutes. Rapid VRI adoption also occurred in clinics that lacked in-person interpreters. 


Increasing Access to Children’s Healthcare 


Initially, CHLA Pulmonary and Orthopedic Clinics used VRI the most per minute. As VRI supplemented in-person interpreting, the annual census for the Pulmonary Clinic increased by 1,000 patients. The use of language services rose from 4 in-person meetings per month to 129 per month, 96.9% of which were VRI. 

Additionally, VRI usage increased: 

  • 755.9% in the emergency department
  • 583.6% in the endocrinology clinic. 

It also increased substantially in outpatient settings through the use of iPads. 


VRI vs. Other Interpretation Methods

During interviews, clinical teams reported that VRI offered a more engaging, interactive, and readily available alternative to in-person and OPI for far more languages than staff interpreters. It also reduced wait times, appointment times, and improved patient satisfaction. However, staff still preferred in-person interpreters for more complex appointments. 

Yet VRI also offers benefits for in-person interpreters. Researchers found that VRI freed up time for in-person interpreters to attend professional conferences and undergo additional training. 

Overall, VRI proved to be beneficial for patients, clinical staff, and in-person interpreters. 


Video remote interpreting at Boostlingo

While VRI doesn’t replace the need for in-person and over-the-phone interpreting, it does serve as a great alternative in many medical scenarios. But to fully enjoy the benefits, you need a platform that makes it easy to connect. Enter BoostCare Telehealth, the telehealth system that leverages the world’s number one interpretation platform. 

With BoostCare, you can connect with patients quickly and effectively—as well as suppliers and other support services. Plus, you’ll gain access to our Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages. 

Think Boostlingo is right for you? Contact us today to start your free trial!