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10 Facts You May Not Know About Interpreting in Hospitals

virtual medical interpretation

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When it comes to the healthcare industry, the need for language services is extremely important. Typically, the need for this happens when limited English proficient patients come in and are unable to communicate with doctors or other healthcare professionals.

Professional medical interpreters are necessary when it comes to working with and overcoming linguistic barriers in patient relations. By doing so, patients who are limited English-proficient will receive the quality healthcare they need.

However, many still do not understand the need for interpretation services. This is why we’ve put together a list of a few interesting facts to help you better understand interpretation in hospitals.

  • In 2013, an estimate of 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home. 41 percent (25.1 million) were considered Limited English Proficient (LEP).  – Migration Policy
  • According to the Joint Commission, Communication and language barriers in hospitals ranked the number 3 reason why sentinel events happened at 489 out of 2,378.
  • At least 8.6 percent of the U.S. population is at risk for adverse events because of barriers associated with their language ability. – AHRQ
  • According to CRICO Strategies out of 7,149 cases, 30% of medical malpractice lawsuits are because of miscommunication.
  • The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, which means over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States. – Census Gov
  • LEP patients are more likely to report problems understanding a medical situation confusion about how to use medication, trouble understanding a medication label and a bad reaction to medication due to problems understanding the instructions. – NBCI
  • After examining rates of 30-day readmissions across patients by race/ethnicity, LEP patients are more likely to be readmitted than others. – NCBI
  • By having a trained medical professional on staff, there are fewer errors in care for LEP patients. – Science Daily
  • In addition to readmission rates, racial, ethnic and LEP patients, including other health concerns like increased risks of long stays at the hospital, less access to primary care providers and higher rates of anxiety and depression.
    49.1% of LEP patients are involved in some sort of physical harm.

This research of facts ensures even more that interpreters are needed in the healthcare industry. Their job is important and can save lives.

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