The rapid take-up of VRI in hospital and clinical settings

It used to be that most hospital systems relied almost entirely on face-to-face interpreting services, but in recent years and especially since the coronavirus pandemic, where minimising the number of people physically present at any medical consultation in a hospital setting became a new priority for healthcare institutions, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) has become the fastest-growing foreign language service in the country, bridging the gap between traditional face-to-face and telephone interpreting services.

As mentioned above, the coronavirus crisis and accompanying concerns over complying with social distancing rules has become the main driver behind the rapid take-up of VRI, and many clinics, laboratories and hospitals have struggled to anticipate or provide for this emerging requirement. And the trend is set to continue. In the US, for example, during May 2020, the use of remote interpreting services escalated rapidly from around 8–29%. And so, whether your organisation already has some experience of using remote interpreting services or is only now beginning to explore how it might assist communication with patients, we decided to list some of the advantages of using VRI in your healthcare or laboratory setting:

  • First and foremost, VRI is a safe and effective way of communicating with patients who are deaf and hard of hearing or who have limited English proficiency. Web cameras or videophones can be used to provide both spoken and sign language interpreting services in order to assist the clinician to communicate with their patient in real time, while removing the need for the patient to travel to the healthcare provider in person and thus avoiding the possibility of either party contracting coronavirus or any other infection.
  • VRI facilitates a fast response in emergencies. It is not always easy to set up a meeting with either a spoken or sign language interpreter as fast as might be required for urgent situations. VRI can give you access to a certified medical interpreter in a few minutes.
  • VRI interpreting services are more cost effective than traditional face-to-face interpreters. Most certified medical interpreters charge a 2-hour minimum fee, travel time, travelling expenses and sometimes other sundries such as food and drink. Using a VRI provider will bypass most of these added expenses, although it is always advisable to make enquiries about a minimum fee before you engage any interpreting provider.
  • VRI is easy to use. Every minute is vital when you’re in the business of saving lives. The good news is that VRI doesn’t require the healthcare provider to learn how to use new or complicated software to access the service, with interpreters easily added to calls using Zoom, Webex or Skype.

Wrapping it all up…

The diversity of languages in most countries is becoming ever richer, making the need for interpreting services in healthcare and clinical settings increasingly an every-day requirement in order to operate smoothly and efficiently. Where there is a language barrier between the patient and medical practitioner, having an efficient, high-quality, easy-to-use interpreting service has been shown to increase patient satisfaction, improve communication, medical outcomes and diagnoses and lead to a much higher level of clinical care overall. And using a remote language service such as VRI could be just the solution your healthcare organisation needs to save the time and associated costs of providing traditional face-to-face interpreting services.

We can give you support you can rely on, wherever you need help from an interpreter and whatever language combination you need to work in. Just click here to start a conversation with us. We look forward to hearing about your face-to-face interpreting conundrums and finding out how we can help your organisation to become more efficient using VRI technology.