Good and strong communication between patients and providers is the cornerstone of patient safety, overall satisfaction and positive health outcomes.
Achieving effective communication with limited English proficient patients may seem difficult at first, but we are here to help! Video interpreting is a popular language access solution within many organizations, especially now.
If you’re a provider who is just starting to use video interpreting solutions, here are some helpful tips to ensure you have a smooth experience:
- Recognize video remote interpreting (VRI) is not appropriate for every scenario.
- Ask the patient/service user what method(s) of communication they prefer and, whenever possible, utilize these methods of communication.
- Make sure you have access to a secure VRI platform and perform a test call with your agency beforehand.
- Check the equipment before each session. Make sure to position it in such a way that both you and the patient can speak directly into it.
- Know how to effectively use your equipment. Learn the ins and outs of your equipment, including the online platform features for VRI.
- Use first-person speech and communicate directly to the patient, not the interpreter.
- Ensure all staff members are trained on how to use the VRI equipment and what to do if a problem arises.
- Before and during all VRI sessions, conduct check-ins to ensure the set-up is working, and all participants, including the interpreter, can understand, hear, and see each other.
- If multiple parties are involved with the call, ensure all parties identify themselves by name before speaking.
- Keep your messages concise, pausing every 2-3 thoughts to allow for accurate interpretation.
- Speak clearly and avoid talking too quickly.
- Get to know the interpreter protocol. Healthcare interpreters are bound by a professional code of ethics and follow standards of practice that are worth familiarizing yourself with so you can work most efficiently with them.
Above all, breathe, be patient in these sessions — with yourself, the patient, the technology, and the overall format. Remember, working with a professional interpreter will ultimately lead to a more gratifying experience for everyone involved.