Telehealth Medical Interpreting Tips for Medical Providers

Telehealth Medical Interpreting Tips for Medical Providers

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Medical Providers

A Note on COVID-19

The Intelligere team is watching the COVID-19 pandemic closely and is following all guidelines from the CDC and the State of Minnesota. Our team is stepping up hand hygiene and practicing social distancing to help slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we are healthy and able to serve you and your patients through the pandemic.

While Intelligere has provided medical interpreters over the phone or video conference for years, never has the ability to see patients remotely been more urgent. Medical interpreters give providers the power to extend this valuable service to patients with limited English proficiency.

If you have never worked with a medical interpreter in a telehealth environment, here are a few tips from the Intelligere team to make the experience go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Speak Slowly and in Shorter Phrases

Slowing your speech helps in any appointment where medical interpreting is required, but is even more important on telehealth appointments. Take the time to slow down and clearly enunciate your words.

Simplify your speech further by shortening your sentences. Do not string several concepts together into a single sentence. Instead, give each idea its own sentence, and pause to allow the interpreter to convey this information to your patient.

2. Speak to Your Patient

It is tempting to speak to the medical interpreter rather than the patient during a telehealth appointment. But this can be confusing and off-putting to the person you are caring for. Instead, speak directly to your patient, while pausing for the interpreter to do their work. It is okay to check with the interpreter that information is being understood, but remember to always give the information to your patient, not the interpreter.

3. Ask Specific Questions and Give Direct Answers

Telehealth appointments are not the time to speak in idioms or euphemisms. Be direct and specific when imparting information. Avoid using acronyms, abbreviations, or medical jargon on a phone or video call with a patient.

4. Prepare Your Space

In preparing for your telehealth appointment, make the call in an area with minimal background noise. If speaking over video conference, make sure the camera is not capturing other patients, providers, or  private health information. A plain wall often works best as a background. Don’t forget to have your patient’s records in front of you to minimize interruptions.

Telehealth Appointments by Video Conference

Intelligere provides video remote interpreting, or VRI, in 17 spoken languages and ASL, including 24/7 support for Spanish and ASL. Our VRI services help provide a more personal experience for patients and providers when an onsite appointment is not possible.

Telehealth Appointments by Telephone

If you are providing telehealth appointments by telephone, without the support of video, Intelligere provides on-demand interpreting in more than 200 languages. Our highly qualified medical interpreters are accessible via a toll-free number.

Telehealth appointments are surging as COVID-19 cases climb in the United States. Support your patients with limited English proficiency by partnering with highly qualified medical interpreters. Contact Intelligere today.