Healthcare check-up on ROI The need for medical interpreting
The “skinny” on professional interpreting in healthcare
“Qualified medical interpreters play a role in reducing health care costs… Patients with limited English proficiency who communicate through interpreters have a 1.5-day shorter length of stay in the hospital, on average, than patients who do not.” 2
In 2015, the Center for Disease Control estimated that there were 140 million ED visits throughout the United States, resulting in 12 million hospital admissions. That same year, there were over 125 million outpatient hospital visits.
When we apply these numbers to the LEP population, there were potentially 11 million LEP patient ED visits that year resulting in 100,000 admissions, and 10 million LEP outpatient visits – did someone say communication gap?
Yes, we did
According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 26 million US residents who speak English less than very well. These individuals account for 8 percent of the current US population but this percentage is projected to grow to 19 percent by 2050.
This challenge however, is certainly not exclusive to the United States. The world’s countries are becoming increasingly more diverse, creating very similar communication gap challenges for healthcare facilities worldwide.
Time to separate fact from fiction
“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin by any organization receiving federal funding.” ¹¹
A patient’s rights to language access is nothing new. In the mid 1970s, the Supreme Court ruled that language falls directly under “national origin” and therefore, any federally-funded institution must ensure language access to all whom they serve. In 2000, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order to ensure language access was available for patients in any healthcare setting that receives federal funding.
Nonetheless, healthcare facilities within the United States seem to fall into any one of three categories:
- Those that fully adhere
- Those that simply don’t, and;
- Those that fall somewhere in between
The confusion seems to lie in which scenario generates the healthiest ROI, but only one of these categories makes the grade.
Read the full report to get the “skinny” on professional interpreting in healthcare.
Information contained in this report
- Shedding light on length of stay and 30-day readmission
- Adverse events due to miscommunication
- Professional vs ad hoc interpreting
- Readmission penalties
- Diagnostic errors
- Patient satisfaction packs a punch
- Interpreting modality preferences
- The truth about fill rate
- Think BIG
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