Can Limited-English Speakers Use Telehealth? The Answer is ‘Yes.’

The use of telehealth is rapidly expanding. Particularly during a health emergency in which the risk of infection is high and the need for care is urgent, physicians are seeking to meet with patients remotely using telehealth solutions.

Given the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19), some healthcare providers are meeting with their patients from a distance via video-conferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, as well as traditional telemedicine platforms.

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BREAKING: Medicare Telehealth Coverage Expanded for Beneficiaries

Amid an international health emergency, the White House has expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that enables beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.

What should providers do if they want to use telehealth but the patient speaks a foreign language? Below, we will address a simple solution to using telemedicine with limited-English-proficient patients. First, let’s take a closer look at this expansion of telehealth coverage.

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Coronavirus: What if Your Patient is Limited English Speaking?

The fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected more than 8,200 people across the world, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

Hours earlier, the U.S. confirmed its first human-to-human transmission of the virus, which has killed more than 200 people in China and now has spread to at least 18 other countries.

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NEW eBOOK: Telehealth and the Vital Role of Language Access

Healthcare organizations are adopting telehealth technology at an impressive rate.

Legislation, escalating costs to deliver traditional services, and overall population health management have accelerated interest in telemedicine solutions. More than half of hospitals are expected to have installed telehealth technology by 2020. Especially in heretofore underserved populations, telehealth stands to dramatically improve the delivery of quality care to areas where it has been challenging - if not impossible - to access.

But for telemedicine platforms to truly be revolutionary, they must be able to hear every voice, including those that speak a language other than English. In other words, if you are building a telehealth solution without limited-English speakers in mind – stop!

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