stock-photo-side-close-view-of-female-doctor-specialist-with-face-mask-holding-buccal-cotton-swab-and-test-tubeThe Importance of Communication in Light of the Coronavirus Outbreak

We’re in the midst of a global health emergency. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, healthcare providers can expect to see an increase in the number of patients with limited English proficiency. How can healthcare organizations best be prepared to serve everyone in need of assistance?

Preparing for Public Emergency

Healthcare providers already have plenty of patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). However, with the current public health concerns and the expected volume of people being affected, they’ll need to be prepared for an increase in patients who need varying levels of language services, which means making sure that they have all the appropriate resources in place to handle the task at hand.

Certified multilingual healthcare professionals are imperative when addressing LEP and patient communication, otherwise the quality of care provided suffers. The language skills your organization needs could mean hiring new staff, or it’s quite likely you already have several multilingual speakers on your team. The real question is who is qualified to deal with today’s communication needs.

In the case of a public health emergency, it’s important to have all hands on deck. Multilingual employees can be an indispensable asset when their language proficiency has been confirmed by a valid and reliable language assessment.

Language testing administered by LTI allows you to measure a multilingual person’s proficiency in speaking, writing, reading, and listening in a reliable and legally defensible manner. This is essential in the healthcare environment, and even more so when dealing with the effects of the pandemic we are currently facing. All communication must be accurate and clear between patients and providers to avoid any confusion that could open the door to miscommunication, medical mistakes, malpractice suits, or worse yet, patient suffering.

Every health care professional in need of language services should be able to quickly and with confidence connect to professional, vetted, and verified language support services to address patient communication. Particularly in cases of COVID-19, all patients and their families should have the right to equitable access to healthcare, regardless of the language they speak.

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