Video Remote Interpreters Boost Patient Satisfaction at Ambulatory Surgery Centers

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Thanks to the same-day surgical care, diagnostic and preventive procedures that ambulatory surgery centers provide, surgery patients can say goodbye to weeks of waiting for an appointment and days of recovery in the hospital.

Ambulatory surgery centers are dedicated to providing patient centric care. Both patient satisfaction and patient outcome are high priorities among ambulatory surgery settings. Other major benefits include:

  • Patient convenience

  • Lower cost

  • Improved pain management

  • Less invasive surgical techniques

Studies on patient quality outcomes  associate higher levels of specialization and the volume of procedures with a decrease in unplanned hospitalizations in ambulatory surgery centers. This is likely due to their patient focused approach to care. Physicians are highly skilled and specialized in their techniques, and facilities tailor those specialties to the specific needs of their patients.

Effective patient-provider communication is key for patient adherence to healthcare plans and essential for a healthy recovery post-surgery. The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) model of care argues, “the best surgical outcomes are possible only when patients take ownership and responsibility for their role; only by doing this the patients can fully understand the different items of the protocol and adhere to them in the best way”. Post-surgery recovery involves a range of key components, including everything from pain control to IV therapy, anti-nausea control, hypothermia prevention and early mobilization. The challenges are many, therefore patient education is vital to outcome.

When patients are Deaf, Hard of Hearing (HoH) or Limited English Proficient (LEP), breaches in patient-provider communication can greatly compromise the patient’s access to their healthcare information, challenging their ability to be an active participant in their healthcare plans. Researchers from the Department of Health Policy Research of the Joint Commission found that LEP patients were 19 percent more likely to experience adverse effects causing physical harm than English-speaking patients. In addition, the adverse events among LEP patients were more likely to result in moderate to severe harm. The LEP patient population is significant and on the rise in healthcare facilities across the United States.

In addition to the rise in population, facilities are seeing a wider range of requested languages. Top languages are shifting, and languages of lesser diffusion are encountered more frequently. As a result, many ambulatory surgery centers are not prepared to provide language services for a significant portion of their patient population. When surgery patients are LEP, surgical procedures, discharge instructions and other healthcare information must be explained in the patient’s preferred language with the assistance of a qualified medical interpreter. When interpreters are not available onsite for the language pair requested, ambulatory surgeons can quickly reach a wide range of qualified medical interpreters over video.

Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) combines the benefits of face-to-face interpretation with the on-demand nature of Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI). VRI is an effective solution for language barriers because it is instant, mobile and cost-effective. VRI provides a great opportunity for ambulatory surgery centers to further improve patient safety and outcome for a significant patient population. Learn how to best incorporate VRI into your existing language services plan in this educational webinar presented by Linda Golley of the University of Washington Medical Center.

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