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Healthcare is adapting quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded support for telemedicine.
This change expands the list of services which can be provided via telehealth and loosens previous regulations that banned the use of certain video platforms. While these changes make providing care to remote patients much easier, additional measures will need to be in place to ensure the same level of care for the 25 million Americans considered to be limited-English proficient (LEP).
Here’s what to consider when looking to provide telehealth support for your remote LEP patients:
Working with a partner that can provide custom API integrations will help to ensure a smooth transition of workflow as your health system migrates to a virtual setting. A custom integration can increase efficiencies for your telehealth program, streamlining the providers’ experience and improving their ability to better serve their patients.
Make sure your telehealth solution allows patients and physicians to use the devices of their choosing (or what they have available to them) for virtual care. Choosing a platform that is device agnostic will increase your ability to provide accessible care to patients, no matter what language they speak.
When partnering with a language services provider for your telehealth solution, review their recruiting and screening process for linguists. Can they provide medically-qualified interpreters who are proficient in medical terminology? What kind of quality assurance processes are in place to monitor interpreter compliance? Asking these questions up front will help you find an experienced partner who values high-quality medical interpreting.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced that it will exercise enforcement discretion and has temporarily relaxed HIPAA standards for telehealth. Implementing a HIPAA-compliant solution now will ensure continuity of service after the pandemic relaxations subside.
The need for telehealth is more critical than ever. As health systems move quickly to incorporate solutions that enable remote communication with patients, make sure that you have language services in place for your limited-English speaking patients.
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