Why an Interpreting Service Is Essential for Your Hospital

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By Barry Schreiber, Director of Marketing

According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 350 languages spoken in the United States alone! While the Census Bureau has no quantifiable way of measuring language skills, over 25 million people surveyed told the Bureau that they speak English “less than well.”
 
 With so many languages spoken across the nation, the need for interpretation service is higher than ever. No industry can benefit more from these services than healthcare.
 
 Hospitals serve a diverse population; even those in rural communities often see patients with limited English proficiency. Unfortunately, hospitals that are ill-equipped for those patients are unable to provide the level of care they deserve. Doctors and nurses typically speak in English, creating a language barrier that could adversely affect a patient’s care.

How Language Barriers Affect Healthcare

There’s no denying that non-English speakers have a harder time in medical settings. In both emergencies and primary care visits, language barriers prevent patients from communicating effectively with physicians. Right off the bat, this can lead to:

  • A higher risk of medical errors
  • Difficulties going over medical history
  • Poor comprehension of the problem at hand
  • Issues with informed consent and documentation

 Ultimately, all these problems can make it more difficult for healthcare professionals to provide adequate care. These language barriers put a strain on patient-physician interaction and often lead to higher dissatisfaction rates among non-English speakers.

Without a proper hospital language translation program, patients with limited English proficiency are affected at every stage of the treatment process. Informed consent is one of the pillars of modern healthcare. Patients have the right to learn valuable information about their health, ask those crucial questions, and learn as much as possible about a procedure or service before it happens. This includes going over potential risks, the benefits that treatment can offer, and any alternatives that might be available. All this information helps the patient make the right decision for their own health and needs.

 When a language barrier is present, informed consent is difficult. How is a patient supposed to make health-related decisions when they’re unable to communicate with the provider? That lack of effective communication can lead to:

  • Less patient understanding of their health
  • Confusion surrounding patient diagnosis
  • Less adherence to recommended treatment
  • Poor outcomes
  • Longer hospital stays
  • Frequent revisits

 An interpreting company like Allied could break down those language walls and improve overall patient and provider communications.

Laws and Regulations Surrounding Language Access

 There have been many attempts to fix the disparities that exist between English and non-English speakers in healthcare. Currently, three federal laws require healthcare providers to offer interpretation services to patients.

Titles VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Affordable Care act all have regulations involving language barriers. These state that translators and interpreters must be available in hospitals for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), who are deaf and who are hard of hearing (HOH). 

To comply with these regulations, hospitals must provide interpreters for up to 15 of the most spoken languages in the community. These laws apply to all providers that receive federal funding.

Common Problems with Interpreters in Healthcare

 Despite the mandates to protect patients, language services in hospitals are still not as widespread as needed. The implementation of these services has been slow across the country, especially in rural settings.

The problem with interpreters in healthcare boils down to a lack of access to professionals to provide these services. Hospitals face budget and time constraints, which prevent them from hiring full-time interpreters to be available. Furthermore, the availability of interpreters who are proficient in minor or lesser-known languages is particularly low.

 Contrary to popular belief, being an interpreter is not as simple as understanding the language. 

The Affordable Care Act prohibits children, family, and friends from interpreting for patients unless it’s an emergency. This regulation has only made it more challenging to provide language services in hospitals.

Medical interpreters must go through a certification process before they can work in a healthcare setting. There are two national certification boards, both of which require proficiency in not only the language but also medical terminology. 

 While this does improve efficiency across the board, it also creates a shortage of qualified in-house interpreters.

Benefits of Having an Interpreting & Translating Service in Your Hospital

 Luckily, global interpreting services are available through Allied Interpreting & Translating. Hospitals can work with our dedicated team of interpreters to provide this beneficial service to patients from all backgrounds.

Interpreters in healthcare settings can provide a slew of benefits. 
Here are some of the most significant:

#1 Reduces the Chances of Misdiagnoses

One of the most severe risks of not having an interpreter is misdiagnosis. Without efficient communication, important details get lost in translation; when an interpreter is present, physicians can comprehend the issues at hand much better. This can ultimately help hospitals avoid misdiagnosis and legal issues.

#2 Facilitates Better Communication

Interpreters are fluent in both the source and target languages. Thus, they’re able to provide accurate translations and open up those lines of communication. Pair that with an understanding of medical knowledge, and the interpreter will play an essential role in the treatment process.

#3 Provides Unbiased Translations

 When family or friends translate for patients, there’s always a risk of bias. Medical interpreters are trained to provide accurate translations. They are not going to input their personal recommendations, ensuring that patients are free to make their own choices.

#4 Eliminates the Risks of Inadequate Informed Consent

With a translator and interpreter service, patients can have a much better understanding of their care. They can ask those all-important questions and have the information they need to make an informed decision.

#5 Reduces Patient Anxiety

Patients with limited English proficiency often have higher levels of anxiety in hospital settings due to language barriers. When you eliminate those hurdles, patients feel more confident about the level of care they are receiving.

#6 Ensures Compliance

Investing in an interpreting service ensures that you are fully complying with all federal laws. This can maximize your hospital’s reimbursements, which improves the facility’s financial health.

#7 Lowers the Chances of Readmission

 When patients work with an interpreter, they can fully understand the treatment process and everything that comes with it. This increases the likelihood that they will follow treatment guidelines, reducing the chances of readmission.

By Barry Schreiber, Director of Marketing

According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 350 languages spoken in the United States alone! While the Census Bureau has no quantifiable way of measuring language skills, over 25 million people surveyed told the Bureau that they speak English “less than well.”
 
 With so many languages spoken across the nation, the need for interpretation service is higher than ever. No industry can benefit more from these services than healthcare.
 
 Hospitals serve a diverse population; even those in rural communities often see patients with limited English proficiency. Unfortunately, hospitals that are ill-equipped for those patients are unable to provide the level of care they deserve. Doctors and nurses typically speak in English, creating a language barrier that could adversely affect a patient’s care.

How Language Barriers Affect Healthcare

There’s no denying that non-English speakers have a harder time in medical settings. In both emergencies and primary care visits, language barriers prevent patients from communicating effectively with physicians. Right off the bat, this can lead to:

  • A higher risk of medical errors
  • Difficulties going over medical history
  • Poor comprehension of the problem at hand
  • Issues with informed consent and documentation

 Ultimately, all these problems can make it more difficult for healthcare professionals to provide adequate care. These language barriers put a strain on patient-physician interaction and often lead to higher dissatisfaction rates among non-English speakers.

Without a proper hospital language translation program, patients with limited English proficiency are affected at every stage of the treatment process. Informed consent is one of the pillars of modern healthcare. Patients have the right to learn valuable information about their health, ask those crucial questions, and learn as much as possible about a procedure or service before it happens. This includes going over potential risks, the benefits that treatment can offer, and any alternatives that might be available. All this information helps the patient make the right decision for their own health and needs.

 When a language barrier is present, informed consent is difficult. How is a patient supposed to make health-related decisions when they’re unable to communicate with the provider? That lack of effective communication can lead to:

  • Less patient understanding of their health
  • Confusion surrounding patient diagnosis
  • Less adherence to recommended treatment
  • Poor outcomes
  • Longer hospital stays
  • Frequent revisits

 An interpreting company like Allied could break down those language walls and improve overall patient and provider communications.

Laws and Regulations Surrounding Language Access

 There have been many attempts to fix the disparities that exist between English and non-English speakers in healthcare. Currently, three federal laws require healthcare providers to offer interpretation services to patients.

Titles VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Affordable Care act all have regulations involving language barriers. These state that translators and interpreters must be available in hospitals for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), who are deaf and who are hard of hearing (HOH). 

To comply with these regulations, hospitals must provide interpreters for up to 15 of the most spoken languages in the community. These laws apply to all providers that receive federal funding.

Common Problems with Interpreters in Healthcare

 Despite the mandates to protect patients, language services in hospitals are still not as widespread as needed. The implementation of these services has been slow across the country, especially in rural settings.

The problem with interpreters in healthcare boils down to a lack of access to professionals to provide these services. Hospitals face budget and time constraints, which prevent them from hiring full-time interpreters to be available. Furthermore, the availability of interpreters who are proficient in minor or lesser-known languages is particularly low.

 Contrary to popular belief, being an interpreter is not as simple as understanding the language. 

The Affordable Care Act prohibits children, family, and friends from interpreting for patients unless it’s an emergency. This regulation has only made it more challenging to provide language services in hospitals.

Medical interpreters must go through a certification process before they can work in a healthcare setting. There are two national certification boards, both of which require proficiency in not only the language but also medical terminology. 

 While this does improve efficiency across the board, it also creates a shortage of qualified in-house interpreters.

Benefits of Having an Interpreting & Translating Service in Your Hospital

 Luckily, global interpreting services are available through Allied Interpreting & Translating. Hospitals can work with our dedicated team of interpreters to provide this beneficial service to patients from all backgrounds.

Interpreters in healthcare settings can provide a slew of benefits. 
Here are some of the most significant:

#1 Reduces the Chances of Misdiagnoses

One of the most severe risks of not having an interpreter is misdiagnosis. Without efficient communication, important details get lost in translation; when an interpreter is present, physicians can comprehend the issues at hand much better. This can ultimately help hospitals avoid misdiagnosis and legal issues.

#2 Facilitates Better Communication

Interpreters are fluent in both the source and target languages. Thus, they’re able to provide accurate translations and open up those lines of communication. Pair that with an understanding of medical knowledge, and the interpreter will play an essential role in the treatment process.

#3 Provides Unbiased Translations

 When family or friends translate for patients, there’s always a risk of bias. Medical interpreters are trained to provide accurate translations. They are not going to input their personal recommendations, ensuring that patients are free to make their own choices.

#4 Eliminates the Risks of Inadequate Informed Consent

With a translator and interpreter service, patients can have a much better understanding of their care. They can ask those all-important questions and have the information they need to make an informed decision.

#5 Reduces Patient Anxiety

Patients with limited English proficiency often have higher levels of anxiety in hospital settings due to language barriers. When you eliminate those hurdles, patients feel more confident about the level of care they are receiving.

#6 Ensures Compliance

Investing in an interpreting service ensures that you are fully complying with all federal laws. This can maximize your hospital’s reimbursements, which improves the facility’s financial health.

#7 Lowers the Chances of Readmission

 When patients work with an interpreter, they can fully understand the treatment process and everything that comes with it. This increases the likelihood that they will follow treatment guidelines, reducing the chances of readmission.

Conclusion

The importance of interpreters & translators in healthcare is undeniable. They ensure that every patient that comes into your hospital can receive the best care possible.

Contact Allied Interpreting & Translating today for more information about our medical interpreting and translation services. (323-934-2585 | info@alliedinterpreting.com)

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