Telehealth services are standard in today’s healthcare system. For healthcare to be effective, hospitals must provide language support for patients who need it. With the use of translation carts, the efficacy of today’s telehealth landscape is being transformed.
This article discusses the need for quality language-interpretation carts and how these tools produce positive outcomes for patients, hospitals, and the telehealth industry.
The Need for Telehealth Translation Carts
Healthcare workers across the board have seen firsthand the dramatic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on how we think about telehealth. Telehealth services are no longer an exception or unique accommodation. Today, patients expect there to be a telehealth option from their providers.
While telehealth has grown in use, many patients are still experiencing hurdles both virtually and in person. Patients have experienced language barriers that prevent them from receiving the level of care they need and deserve. Without ample access to translation services, healthcare is not possible for Deaf individuals, those who are hard of hearing, or those who do not speak English or the language spoken by their providers.
However, translation carts are changing that narrative. Translation carts are transforming telehealth by providing accessible translation services to individuals who need them. Through these technologies, providers can confidently prescribe care to their patients, and patients receive the quality healthcare they need and deserve.
How Translation Carts Transform Telehealth
The need for translation in telehealth is great as we’ve examined above. Patients require translation services, and hospitals need resources to provide these services. Below we explore how translation carts transform telehealth from both the patient and provider perspectives.
1. Greater accessibility
There are around 48 million people in the U.S. with some degree of hearing loss. With that comes the burden of finding adequate healthcare that is accessible. So much so, that the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare recently published an article highlighting the need for telehealth translation services specifically for the Deaf community. Their 2021 survey found that 75 percent of respondents utilized telehealth services at least once in the last 12 months. Of these respondents, a staggering two-thirds reported experiencing communication challenges.
Another recent study found that non-English speakers were also left behind during telehealth implementation as it gained popularity during the pandemic. From setting up and using virtual platforms to communicating in real-time with their providers, non-English speakers consistently face difficulties regarding accessible telehealth care.
The lack of quality, effective translation subjected the surveyed patients to an unnecessary burden of access. However, translation carts can minimize this burden by providing accurate translation services in real-time.
Translation carts allow for multi-way communication between patient and provider. Regardless of the language barrier, translation carts make healthcare accessible to patients both in person and remotely. For in-person visits, a physician can roll the translation cart into the room and use it in the same way as they would if it were a virtual visit. Language barriers should not affect accessibility to telehealth services. And thanks to real-time translation carts, they don’t have to.
2. Focus on patients, not technology
Time remains a precious resource for providers and patients. Primary care physicians only spend an average of 18 minutes with their patients. Doctors must use that time efficiently and effectively to ensure they care well for the patient.
As telehealth has become a more popular avenue for healthcare, many providers have found the technology difficult for patients to implement –– especially those who need translation services. Many patients require language support from family to open a telehealth platform, not to mention the need for language interpretation services during the appointment. The language barriers often result in lost time –– a serious loss in an industry where every second counts.
Translation carts can mitigate wasted time during a telehealth appointment. Translation carts allow providers to communicate with patients in real-time. Instead of providers or patients wasting time struggling with technology, all focus is on patient care.
3. Economic impact
All hospitals and healthcare clinics should prioritize patient care and comfort. At the same time, these systems have a bottom line. Time and financial resources are valuable, and hospital administrators must find avenues to reduce waste.
As mentioned above, translation carts play a significant role in time-waste reduction. Efficient care benefits both the patient and the provider. But that’s not the only benefit. Efficient time use within a hospital system directly results in cost savings.
Translation carts allow for monitors or tablets to be attached for instant access to a wide range of specialists, and translators. These carts are built with hospital settings and providers in mind. These types of telehealth carts are built with a compact design to allow for ease of use when physicians move the translation cart from room to room. It allows the healthcare worker to use as little energy and effort as possible when preparing for a telehealth consultation.
A few minutes per telehealth call may not seem significant, nor might a few minutes pulling the cart down the hall, but when providers can utilize quality translation carts to save a few minutes per call daily, the time savings add up quickly.
4. Improved safety
Translation carts make telehealth services possible even within the walls of a hospital room. Cross-contamination and infection risk reduction remain high priorities within the healthcare system. Translation carts allow providers to continue patient care while keeping them isolated or quarantined from other patients, providers, and staff.
Translation carts eliminate the need for translators and providers to enter a room with a sick patient. If the patient can be cared for or evaluated without a provider in the room, translation carts reduce the spread of germs and contagious diseases, maintaining provider health and lowering the risk of infection among other patients.
This is especially helpful in the era of COVID-19. Many hospitals take every measure possible to stop the spread. And thanks to translation carts, hospitals can implement telehealth capabilities across their campuses to effectively treat patients needing language support.
Telehealthcare has become essential for patients and providers, but for patients needing translation services, receiving healthcare can lead to barriers to accessing care. Thanks to translation carts, all patients can access healthcare care, and hospitals reap the benefits of providing safe, streamlined, and effective telehealth services.
Altus offers a complete line of mobile translation carts that make language support in telehealth simple and effective. Contact us to learn how our translation cart solutions can transform telehealth in your hospital or healthcare setting.