If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that access to healthcare isn’t always equitable. We’ve seen disproportionate infection rates across communities because of the Social Determinants of Health. We need to consider the types of things that we need to have access to in order to be healthy. Whether it is access to transportation to care, getting healthcare coverage, or the ability to understand the care that is being provided, equitable access needs to be at the forefront of all language strategies in healthcare.
Healthcare organizations need to be able to communicate with every patient accurately and immediately. This includes those patients who are hard of hearing, deaf, or Limited English Proficient (LEP). It is important that the solution to this type of communication be; medically qualified, delivered near real-time, HIPAA-compliant, deliverable over the phone, available for high patient volumes.
On-Site interpretation provides the most personal and autonomous option for care. It quells mistrust that may arise for the patient. It also is the most instantaneous, and creates the most space for questions to be answered and confusion to be cleared.
With the onset of COVID-19, the demand for interpreters rose. With high numbers of emergency medical tents being built for treatment and testing, finding a way to communicate with the 20-25% of infected patients being hard-of-hearing, deaf, or LEP was imperative. It was necessary for information to be delivered to patients, family members, and medical personnel quickly and accurately. The use of Video Remote Interpretation became the best way for care to be interpreted; it reduces exposure while also allowing for body language to be observed, which accounts for 55% of communication. Over-the-Phone interpretation also became prevalent because it is the most accessible, the fastest option, and does not require an appointment with a translator.
Beyond COVID-centered solutions, interpreters continue to serve as an integral part of healthcare; without care interpretation, healthcare would be extremely difficult for patients to navigate, and inaccurate or misunderstood information would be common. All patients, no matter their hearing abilities or languages spoken, deserve to have the same quality of care. Interpretation services allow for this right to be enacted, and for health to be more accessible to all.
As a language solutions partner built on quality processes and linguistic expertise, ULG is one of the world’s largest and most innovative translation, localization and interpreting providers. With offices in seven countries on three continents, we’re the trusted partner for hundreds of regulated and non-regulated businesses. Delivering Total Language Confidence™ means understanding your industry, content, requirements, technology and challenges while aligning these with quality solutions to ensure success.