VRI Saves Significant Time & Cost: Interpretation Services for Hospitals

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Interpretation minutes are used more efficiently with VRI, thus significantly reducing the cost of language services in healthcare. With VRI, users press a few buttons, launch the application, choose the language needed and wait for a medical interpreter to appear. VRI gives healthcare providers immediate access to a qualified interpreter in a wide variety of languages over HIPAA compliant video.

The quick, seamless process of using VRI eliminates several, time-consuming hurdles involved when scheduling an onsite interpreter and waiting for the interpreter to physically come onsite, a practice that in some cases considerably delays the delivery of care. In addition to higher cost, the practice of waiting for an onsite interpreter can become problematic when an LEP patient encounter is urgent or requires timely delivery of healthcare services.

Another benefit of VRI is the video component; VRI enables the use of American Sign Language (ASL) and Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI), so that providers can effectively communicate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients about their healthcare information and care management plans. The visual component also enables the interpretation of nonverbal communication, a significant part of the message that is being conveyed.

Visual cues are crucial to ensure cultural competency, allowing the interpreter to better identify misunderstandings that occur due to a difference in culture or healthcare program. While VRI is not always appropriate, replacing even some Deaf/Hard-of Hearing and LEP onsite interpretation with VRI represents a significant reduction in cost for healthcare providers.

For quick reference on healthcare encounters requiring VRI versus onsite, download our LEP decision tree. The resource provides several scenarios where providers ask themselves “should I use an onsite interpreter or a video remote interpreter?” along with common factors that impact decision making. Key decision-making factors to consider include whether the patient is vision impaired, whether multiple participants are present, and whether the situation involves trauma or highly emotional communication.

VRI Cost Savings Case Study

Stratus Video clients that implement VRI experience significant cost savings both in terms of time and cost for language services. On average, VRI sessions are both shorter time wise and less costly than onsite interpretation sessions. A Philadelphia health system saw a sixty two percent reduction in cost of interpretation after replacing just some of its onsite interpretation sessions with VRI. Download the full case study to learn more.

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