Take Language Access to the Next Level with the Stratus Audio Spanish Patient Line

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Did you know the United States has more Spanish speakers than Spain? By 2020, the number of Spanish speakers in the United States is expected to rise as high as 43 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New Mexico has the highest percentage with California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Florida next in line. Spanish is not only the second most commonly spoken language in the United States but also one of the fastest growing. It can be heard in most public spaces, is displayed beneath English in museums, airports and shopping centers and consistently presents itself as patients’ most commonly preferred language other than English in today’s hospitals.

A significant percentage of Spanish speaking patients have been found to have low health literacy. After administering a health literacy test to patients in their preferred language, the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina determined that “due to the disproportionately low level of health literacy among Spanish-speaking patients demonstrated in this and previous studies, future efforts should focus on developing programs that improve health literacy by providing this population with oral translations and pictorial and video instructions.”

The Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina is not alone. With such a high demand for language services in Spanish, healthcare providers across the country are looking for innovative solutions to simplify the process of providing meaningful access. Most facilities are equipped with video remote, over-the-phone and/or onsite interpretation services for limited English proficient (LEP) patients to utilize while receiving care in the facility, but what happens when the patient returns home? What if the patient needs to make a follow-up appointment, hear test results over the phone or discuss symptoms from home? The Stratus Audio Patient Line enables patients to contact their healthcare facility directly with the assistance of a qualified medical interpreter. This is essential for effective continuum of care.

Here’s how it works:

• A Spanish speaking patient needs to reach their healthcare provider or a department within the facility.

• The patient dials the patient line number.

• An interpreter answers who speaks the patient’s preferred language and connects him to the hospital operator.

• The patient requests to be connected to a specific department or provider, all with the assistance of the interpreter who stays on the line throughout the patient experience.

By being able to utilize an interpreter from the get-go, patients can stop worrying about communication barriers and focus more on the purpose for their call: their health and well-being. The interpreter simplifies the process, empowering LEP patients to reach out with questions and concerns that otherwise may go unaddressed. The patient line improves LEP patient satisfaction significantly, inclining patients to make and attend a higher number of appointments and better adhere to healthcare plans.

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