From offering higher quality care to patients in shorter time frames to lower rates of readmission, language support can play a large role in a health system's efforts to improve.
More than 20% of patients in the U.S. speak a language other than English. Below, We've outlined four major ways a high-quality language solution can help your health system drive efficiencies and improve care:
1. Improve Provider Efficiency
Poor provider efficiency gets in the way of offering the best care to patients; patient satisfaction scores can tell you a great deal about what needs to be improved.
Track and analyze how limited-English speaking patients feel after their appointment. By comparing LEP patient satisfaction scores with other English-speaking patients, you can determine where they may be gaps in experience across different segments of your patient population.
Other metrics to consider include the average time a doctor spends with each patient, how long patients wait for an appointment, and how long patients spend waiting once they arrive at the facility. The bulk of primary care physicians spend between 17 and 24 minutes with patients. You could assume that working with an LEP patient could mean a few added minutes to an in-room encounter. However, if your care team is spending a substantial amount of time with LEP patients, some component of language support may be lacking, especially if LEP patients are also giving negative feedback about their experiences at your facility.
If your language support solution is causing delays, disruptions, and especially low patient satisfaction scores at any level of service, re-evaluation of your internal procedures and possibly your language service provider may be necessary.
2. Enhance Patient Flow & Communication
With a language access solution in place, the end goal is to enhance care accessibility and quality for LEP patients through better patient flow and communication. Patient flow is how efficiently patients are moved through the various stages of care, from the time they make an appointment until they leave the office, while communication focuses on how well patients and care providers communicate throughout each stage of care.
Good communication with patients means every individual who comes in understands their care, such as explanations of medical procedures or how to use a prescription. If LEP patients are not getting explanations in a language they understand, they can feel less confident in their care provider. For this reason, communication should be both efficient and accurate. LEP patients should have access to medically qualified interpreters who are experienced and fully understand the appropriate medical terminology to use. Otherwise, serious miscommunications can occur that could have a detrimental effect on health outcomes and readmission rates.
Even slight disruptions due to language barriers can mean all patients are left waiting and agitated. Ensure the language provider you are working with makes language support both quick and reliable, so you don't face problems with patient flow.
A few ways to monitor patient flow and communication efficiency include:
Examining wait and appointment times
Looking at readmission rates among vulnerable LEP patients
Collection and measuring all patient satisfaction scores
Also, pay close attention to how much time it takes providers to access and use language services. Anything from delayed translation projects to issues with connecting to the right interpreter can interfere with patient flow and effective communication. All language support tools should be easy for providers to access to make communication simple and keep the patient flow in a healthy state.
3. Enhance Visibility for Smarter Decisions
Absolute visibility into your language support solution allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your services. The provider you work with should make data visibility simple so you can monitor things like:
Usage data — What services are being utilized the most, and who is using them?
Service-level data — How are the language support services improving efficiency or experiences?
Population data — Which LEP populations are utilizing language support?
Call data — How much time are calls taking, when are they taking place, and which departments are using support most often?
Ideally, your language solutions provider should supply you with customized reports based on the most important metrics to you and your organization. Data monitoring can help you spot opportunities for growth, potential problems, and even where resources should be allocated or reallocated.
4. Smart Technology for Smooth Operations
Utilizing smart, reliable technology within your health system offers stronger communication capabilities and smoother operations overall. Language support providers and systems may make use of various technologies, but the best providers use tech-savvy, centralized tools to make interpretation and translation as simple and unified as possible.
For example, robust language solutions can provide each individual in your facility with direct access to the translation or interpretation tools they need right when they need them. Even more noteworthy, a robust setup that provides consistency across channels and departments negates disjointed communication between all parties involved in a patient's treatment. Better access always equals smoother operations, which increases provider and patient satisfaction, improves care outcomes, and reduces errors.
Likewise, make sure your facility has access to things like in-room tablets for video interpreting. These devices have been shown to increase the use of professional interpretation in clinical settings by as much as four times simply because medical interpreters are quick and easy to access during patient interactions.
Create Better Healthcare Experiences
With the right tools, a unified platform, and the ability to provide any language, GLOBO delivers language support designed to create better experiences for everyone, no matter what language they speak. Get in touch today to learn how GLOBO can help you increase efficiencies and improve patient and provider satisfaction.
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