Technology | 11.11.20
Remote Interpreters Are Critical in the Shift to Telehealth
MultiLingual.com (11/04/20) Quinlan, Kristin
Language interpreters are playing an essential role in the transition to telemedicine. A FAIR Health report calculated 8,336% growth in national telehealth claims in the United States between April 2019 and April 2020. A long-term shift to virtual healthcare is likely, along with the urgent need to span the communications gap for limited English proficient (LEP) patients. In the past few months, many hospitals and healthcare systems have raced to support LEP patients remotely. With 20% of the U.S. populace speaking a non-English language at home, the telehealth switchover is disproportionately impacting these underserved groups. Hospitals and healthcare systems are using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom to provide care virtually, but these products weren't engineered to easily plug skilled medical interpreters into sessions. Meanwhile, telehealth-specific platforms like American Well and Teladoc have virtually zero built-in LEP language support, even though federally funded healthcare entities are required by law to deliver language access services.
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