When you’re in the hospital, comfort and peace of mind are just as valuable as receiving the best medical care available. But, if you can’t understand what your doctor or nurse is saying, and they can’t understand you, comfort and peace of mind are impossible.
That’s the basic reason why professional interpreting services affect patient satisfaction in a healthcare setting.
It just makes logical sense that having an interpreter on hand makes for a more clinically accurate and appropriate standard of care. That’s why healthcare facilities are required by law to make accommodations for LEP patients who require services. But accuracy and legal requirements are only one part of the overall quality of care a patient receives, as any caring doctor or nurse will tell you.
Offering sympathy, support, and soothing words of encouragement, in the patients language of choice, have a tremendous impact on how well someone reacts to treatment and how quickly they are able to recover. Plus, it just makes an inherently uncomfortable situation more bearable.
A standard method for judging patient satisfaction
In May of 2005, the industry standard HCAHPS survey was formally endorsed by the National Quality Forum, an organization established to standardize health care quality measurement and reporting.
The 32-question survey is designed to obtain the patient’s perspective on nine different aspects of their care while in a hospital, and to provide an incentive for hospitals to continually improve their quality of care, since survey results are made public.
Interestingly, five of those nine categories are directly related to communication: Communication with Doctors, Communication with Nurses, Communication about Medicines and Discharge Information, and Transition of Care.
If an LEP patient takes the HCAHPS survey after staying in a hospital where language access was a problem, that hospital is likely to receive a poor score even though the patient was properly treated in a clean and quiet facility where the staff was responsive to their needs and did the best they could to provide excellent care.
That’s how important language access and clear, accurate communication is in a hospital setting.
Video Remote Interpreting offers a new dimension in language access
Healthcare facilities have found an especially powerful means of providing language access for LEP individuals across the entire patient lifecycle in the form of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). In short, this modality allows healthcare professionals to access a trained medical interpreter in one of 14 languages via video on a mobile tablet and speak through the interpreter to any patient in the language they prefer.
Since the interpreting session is video and audio, the patient and care providers can see the nonverbal cues and body expressions that enhance understanding. Through the skillful use of facial expressions, hand gestures and the ability to immediately write provider instructions directly on the video screen, video interpreters offer patients and providers a human connection that cannot be obtained any other way short of having an onsite interpreter in the room.
So, while providing clear and accurate interpretation of the doctor or nurse’s words, a video interpreter can offer that comfort and peace of mind the patient needs to an extent the hospital staff simply cannot.
By utilizing VRI from initial triage and admission through to final discharge, the hospital can ensure that the patient is fully informed of every aspect of their care and can consent to the process. And, it allows them to confirm that the patient understands detailed discharge instructions and recommendations for further recovery, which has been proven to reduce readmission rates in hospitals nationwide.
If you’re interested in determining whether VRI is right for your medical facility, contact us to set up a complimentary demonstration and discuss your options.