With over 47 million residents in the U.S. whose primary language isn't English it stands to reason that all hospitals and healthcare clinics will encounter multilingual patients. Increasing state and federal requirements for communicating with limited English speakers have challenged hospital administrators to find cost-effective solutions.
Among those solutions are technologies that offer speech-to-speech and text-to-text communication from one language to another, said Jonathan Litchman, senior vice president, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). SAIC produces Omnifluent Health, a linguistics translation program integrated with automatic speech recognition technology. "Multilingual communication solutions (have) a huge impact on the healthcare industry,” he said. “Not only does it remove the language barrier between patients and their physicians, it also reduces the cost of medical interpretation and time associated with it, while increasing productivity and accuracy."
Litchman outlined five benefits translation technology has for healthcare.
1. Reduced costs
Healthcare translation technology can significantly reduce costs for hospitals and providers in their interpretation needs, while also boosting productivity. "This sort of technology is a low-hanging fruit CFOs and senior admins hardly recognize," Litchman said. "That cost saving can be leveraged to be used for more critical, clinical applications that are much more sensitive to cost cutting."
2. Reduced administrative and staff burden
Some healthcare organizations have a limited number of people available for interpretation, especially on an immediate basis. "The wait time for interpreters can sometimes be upwards to 25 minutes," Litchman said. Speech-to-speech technology can solve this the wait time problem, which places less of a burden on staff while increasing patient throughput. "That level of healthcare productivity is really a goal for most hospital administrations. It's something that's highly sought after: reduce costs of translation and save money? That hits a benefit twice."
Via Charles Tiayon