Tips & Compliance Surrounding the Use of Video Remote Interpretation

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Good communication between patients and providers is the cornerstone of patient safety and satisfaction. Achieving effective communication can be difficult with the limited English proficiency (LEP) patient population. It is estimated that 60 million people speak a language other than English at home, and 95 million people have literacy levels below what is required to read and understand basic health instructions. Additionally, over 60% of hospitals report treating LEP patients every week.

Video remote interpretation (VRI) is a popular language access solution within hospitals. Highly skilled American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken language interpreters can be accessed over advanced video technology on demand at an affordable cost. Patients, providers and administrators are connected to medically certified interpreters instantaneously over a secure and HIPAA compliant video network. Medical video remote interpreters have extensive video and healthcare interpreting experience.

Video remote interpretation is held to incredibly high standards that must meet both guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the requirements for VRI technology and equipment established by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The ADA states that “a public accommodation shall take those steps that may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services…the term ‘auxiliary aids and services’ includes (1) Qualified interpreters on-site or through video remote interpreting (VRI) services…”, meaning that hospitals and health systems provide language services and maintain ADA compliance through the use of VRI.

The NAD established requirements for VRI in an effort to ensure the proper use of technology and equipment as well as the effective delivery of VRI services.

NAD requirements for VRI include:

  • Dedicated high-speed internet connection & sufficient bandwidth for the delivery of VRI services
  • High quality, clear, delay-free, full motion video and high-quality audio
  • Clear and large view of the interpreter’s and the deaf individual’s head, arms, hands and fingers
  • Adjustable camera angles and focus so that the interpreter can see the deaf individual clearly
  • Clear audio quality with limited background noise
  • Easily portable equipment
  • Equipment set up and training
  • IT staff to troubleshoot/resolve technical issues


Tips for Healthcare Providers Using VRI:

  • To ensure a successful video remote interpretation session, speak directly to the patient, not the interpreter. They will interpret everything that is said or signed. Everything communicated to the interpreter will be interpreted.
  • Use the self-view screen to ensure the interpreter can see you and the patient clearly; they may briefly ask you to adjust your screen.
  • In order to ensure accuracy, make sure you and the patient are not backlit by another window or another light source.
  • Some video remote interpretation platforms provide a digital white board that interpreters can use for written clarification. If appropriate, ask the interpreter to verify medication/information in the digital white board.


As the industry leader in VRI, Stratus Video recognizes the importance of both interpretation and technology quality. Learn more about Stratus Video Interpreting here.

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