In healthcare, a language barrier can lead to poor quality care and worse patient outcomes. Having a language solution in your health system is essential to provide care to all patients (no matter what language they speak).
Still, it can be hard to show the return on investment (ROI) and convince executives that a language solution is worth the cost. The good news is that while proving ROI can be a challenge, there are some key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics you can track that show how a language solution benefits your bottom line.
Here’s how the right language solution can significantly impact the efficiency and, ultimately, the profitability of your health system.
Lower Readmission Rates
Preventable hospital readmissions are among the highest cost drivers in medicine and are a key focus for health systems working to reduce healthcare costs. The right language solution can remove language barriers that lead to misunderstandings upon release. It can also help care providers offer the right care based on the patient’s symptoms, health history, and underlying conditions or family history. All these things reduce the chance that a patient will need to be readmitted.
Fewer Logistical Errors
Providing interpretation and translation services to LEP patients can significantly reduce mistakes in the scheduling and appointment process. Communication breakdowns in scheduling and preparation for an appointment are more likely to result in missed appointments or patients coming the wrong day or time. Missed appointments or appointment errors are costly to a practice that sets physician schedules days or weeks in advance. Clear communication in this process limits the chance for misunderstandings.
Increased Patient Satisfaction
When your health system offers language services, it signals to your LEP patients that you care about them and want to provide the best possible care. In a 2018 review of multiple studies, patients expressed much higher levels of satisfaction with their care when they were able to use a medically qualified interpreter compared to those who translated through a friend or family member.
Patient satisfaction is an important component of any health system’s growth strategy. It’s also a key metric that payers (both CMS and commercial) track to ensure quality care.
Better Health Outcomes
Good communication is central to providing patients with the best health outcomes. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Patient Experience found that language barriers contributed to:
- Improper patient assessments
- Delayed treatment or treatment mistakes
- Limited patient understanding of diagnosis/treatment
- Increased patient stress
- Lack of confidence in care providers
- Lower levels of perceived health equity
Providing a language solution that offers highly trained interpreters in every language ensures that patients will get the best possible care, accurate diagnosis, and proper treatment. It also ensures that providers can communicate appropriately with the patient about their health and recommended treatment protocols.
Reduced Patient Wait Times
Language barriers can slow down patient care workflows, from check-in and medical history to getting patient vitals and consulting with the physician. This can be frustrating for LEP patients, providers, and other scheduled patients, especially since most physician offices have very little extra time to accommodate delays.
Increased Reimbursement Rates
Language services help patients understand their financial obligations, reducing the chance of misunderstandings related to insurance coverage, and limiting unpaid bills and bad debt write-offs for your practice.
Comprehensive language solutions for healthcare
Whether you’re looking to garner executive buy-in or hoping to advocate for a better language solution than the one your organization has in place, proving ROI will play a major role in your success.
Interested in finding out more about how a comprehensive language solution can increase your health system’s ROI and improve patient and provider experiences? Get in touch today to start the conversation.