That’s one of the areas where we know, without a doubt, what we’re doing is making a difference.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just the Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients who are affected when an interpreting session is required in a medical setting. The doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals at each of our partner hospitals and medical practices are deeply involved as well, and language access has a profound effect on their day-to-day lives too.
One means of providing language access that’s been proven highly effective in a healthcare setting is Insight video remote interpreting (VRI).
Seton Healthcare Family is the largest hospital network in Central Texas and a member of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. Based in Austin, Seton uses Insight at six of its nine hospitals: Seton Medical Center Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, University Medical Center Brackenridge, Seton Southwest Hospital, Seton Northwest Hospital, and Seton Shoal Creek Hospital.
Because Austin is a popular location for international refugees to settle in the United States and for immigrants highly skilled in technology, the hospital network sees a large number of LEP patients each day. As many as 40 percent of patients at Seton are limited in their ability to speak and/or understand English. Spanish is the most common foreign language for which interpretation services are needed at Seton, followed by patients who speak Vietnamese, Burmese, Arabic and Nepali.
InSight allows staff members to connect with a trained medical interpreter via a convenient tablet-based mobile app. The app is a helpful tool when in-person interpreters are not available to help keep patients informed and is capable of providing support at every stage of a hospital visitfrom initial admission, through treatment and discharge. With clear and accurate communication being vital in a medical environment, this service has been – quite literally – a life saver.
Dr. Jessica Morse, a resident at Dell Children’s in 2014, recalls how powerful VRI is:
“A Turkish family came to the hospital needing help for one of their children,” Dr. Morse said“Their English was very limited, but when I accessed the Kurdish interpreter on the iPad, we were able to get all the information we needed, right away.”
Patients truly appreciate the opportunity to both see and hear a professional interpreter. Sean Normansell, a professional interpreter at Setonknows firsthand how thin their team can be stretched at times with such a high volume of LEP patients.
“When they see someone on the screen who understands them and can make them understood, their eyes just light up,” he said.
When a Spanish-speaking mother delivered her baby prematurely at Seton, she too found the tool helpful. Throughout her stay at the hospital, Insight was a powerful tool that provided the mother extra comfort and support.
“The doctor speaks a language that I don’t understand well, so this (referring to VRI) is the only way we can communicate,” she said.
She says the tool not only allowed her to understand what her doctor was saying about treatment and care, but also to realizethe intricacies of an issue with her daughter’s heart.
Not that quality healthcare and happy patients aren’t enough, but it’s interesting to note that healthcare facilities such as Seton have been able to see tangible financial benefits through the use of Insight as well.
Hospitals have successfully received funding through the Medicaid 1115 Waiver program in Texas by tracking incidences of readmission and patient adherence to care instructions with and without VRI available. Using video interpreting has demonstrated a notable decrease in cost of care along with improved care quality.
This kind of tangible result – and many others like it – proves that video remote interpreting is an essential tool for modern healthcare facilities nationwide.