Between 1990 and 2010, the number of limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals in the United States has grown by 80%, exceeding 280,000 individuals nationally. Connecticut ranks 13 in the nation with 8.7% of the state population in this category. (1)
LEP, deaf, and hard-of-hearing individuals may have difficulty accessing healthcare due to a language barrier, and Connecticut’s Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) is working to break down this barrier with the use of on-demand medical interpretation services. It is the first hospital in the state of Connecticut to deploy this technology over multiple departments.
The video remote interpretation (VRI) technology, provided by Stratus Video Interpreting, will span multiple departments and locations, aiding LEP individuals who struggle to communicate about healthcare decisions. The most commonly requested languages at YNHH are Spanish, Arabic, and ASL.
YNHH has made significant investments to ensure widespread access to interpretation services:
- 18 large carts with 23-inch, three-in-one touchscreens to be used in emergency departments, transplant centers, operating suites, and other locations.
- 30 mobile units with iPads mounted on “iPoles,” for use in Smilow Cancer Hospital infusion centers, labor and birth suites, physical therapy centers, and more.
The expanded access to interpretation services is part of a broad program of performance improvement initiatives undertaken by the Yale-New Haven Health System, which recently earned recognition for its efforts to improve the quality of patient care while reducing related costs. (2)
Maureen Rosselli, the deaf and hard of hearing services coordinator for YNHH says that these services will further the hospital’s commitment to servicing the needs of LEP, deaf, and hard-of-hearing patients. She notes that YNHH built its own carts with extra-large touchscreens to ensure the monitor was large enough to facilitate communication clearly and avoid visual limitations.
Stratus CEO Sean Belanger says of YNHH, “Their implementation demonstrates how healthcare providers nationwide can better serve deaf, hard-of-hearing, and LEP patients in any medical environment.”
By partnering with Stratus, YNHH can now provide its patients with on-demand interpretation services in more than 175 spoken and signed languages.
1. Pandya, Chhandasi, Jeanne Batalova, and Margie McHugh. 2011. “Limited Enlgish Proficient Individuals in the United States: Number, Share, Growth, and Linguistic Diverstiy.” Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.
2. Hagland, Mark. “Yale-New Haven Health System’s Bold Plunge Into Analytics-Driven Performance Improvement”; Healthcare Informatics; January 7, 2015. healthcare-informatics.com/article/yale-new-haven-health-system-s-bold-plunge-analytics-driven-performance-improvement