A hospital setting has many touchpoints where there is a place for miscommunications, from the reception desk and emergency room to the billing office. Hospital staff needs to be ready for anything and for anyone who may walk through their doors next. Affordable over-the-phone interpreting services may be sufficient for addressing scheduling questions, but other situations demand face-to-face interaction. Having an onsite interpreter available at a moment’s notice isn’t always practical or possible, especially when you see patients who speak less common languages.
Here are some ways healthcare professionals benefit from affordable over-the-phone interpreting services:
Fewer scheduling errors
Patients with limited English proficiency are more likely to miss appointments or show up at the wrong time because of breakdowns in communication with the office staff. Since physicians’ schedules are set well in advance, these scheduling errors can add up hours of wasted time and lost revenue. Affordable over-the-phone interpreting services help to bridge language gaps, reducing scheduling errors.
Shorter patient wait time
Language barriers can slow down the registration process, increasing patient waiting times and reducing patient satisfaction. Using affordable over-the-phone interpreting services to communicate with patients who don’t speak English can reduce patient waiting time and increase patient flow, contributing to improved patient satisfaction.
Fewer medical errors
When lives are on the line and every second counts, miscommunication can contribute to misdiagnoses or even life-threatening medical errors.
Hospital discharge instructions can be confusing enough for a person who speaks the same language as their physician, and language barriers make it even more difficult to follow the directions. When patients understand how to care for themselves properly, they tend to have better health outcomes.
Translating patient education materials, discharge instructions, and other vital documents that are critical to a patient’s care enables patients to take responsibility for their recovery.
Reduced readmission rates
Preventable readmissions have become a huge frustration for hospitals around the country. A number of factors puts patients at a higher risk for readmission, and the language barrier certainly plays a role. When patients can follow physicians’ orders, they are significantly less likely to be readmitted for complications.
Reduced bad debt
Patients who understand their financial obligations and insurance coverage are more likely to pay their bills in a timely manner.
Higher patient satisfaction
According to a report published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, patients with limited English proficiency report lower satisfaction rates compared to English-speaking patients.
Working with Homeland Language Services that offers a full range of solutions, from phone interpreting to video remote interpreting, allows you to keep costs in check while maximizing the benefits to your patients and your bottom line.