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Remote interpretation services have become a popular alternative to on-site interpretation. In the last few decades, researchers have completed studies to determine the benefits of remote interpretation compared to traditional on-site options.

A recent study evaluated CyraCom’s remote interpretation app to determine whether healthcare providers found the app easy to use, and if patients would use a remote interpreter again.

In 2020, a doctoral nursing student at Georgia State University surveyed Korean- and Spanish-speaking patients and staff members at two infusion centers. The author, Denise N. Josephs, also reviewed study data from the last decade to understand how language barriers create healthcare providers and their LEP patients. What have we learned about the significance of language services in healthcare facilities in the last ten years?

Project Research

Higher Chances of Misunderstandings and Negative Outcomes

  • LEP patients are at increased risk to experience health disparities due to higher error and readmission rates in the hospital setting. They also tend to receive less health education and have lower healthcare utilization.
  • Barriers to understanding diagnoses and medication include lower education levels, poor health literacy, and non-English-speaking backgrounds.
  • Patients with a language barrier tend not to ask additional questions related to their illness and have more emergency room visits. Ineffective communication for non-English speaking patients might result in patients feeling isolated, frightened, frustrated, or angry.

Increased Risks of Poorer Quality of Care & Misunderstandings

  • In a qualitative study, LEP patients identified concerns about their care to help researchers find ways to improve patient care and enhance communication. 50% of LEP patients indicated that they didn’t know why they were seeing a specialty provider, or didn’t understand ordered tests, test results, or the treatment plan.
  • In a separate study, LEP patients experienced different quality of care than English-speaking patients in the emergency department. Results concluded that LEP patients were 24% more likely to have an unplanned revisit within 72 hours.

Project Objectives & Results

Study participants were selected from Korean or Spanish-speaking patients for chemotherapy, biotherapy, or immunotherapy and their care providers at Infusion Centers in metro Atlanta.

Josephs surveyed healthcare providers and patients to determine if they found remote interpretation services easy to use and whether they would use them again.

Study Results

From the five patients and seven care providers surveyed, they reported:

  • 100% of staff members thought CyraCom’s Interpreter App was easy to use and felt confident using the system
  • All patients had experience with an on-site interpreter in the past, and 80% of patients would use remote interpretation again

Recommendations for Healthcare Organizations

Technology-driven interpretation innovations have become imperative for organizations like hospitals, where new devices and systems can dramatically enhance patient outcomes.

In multiple studies, clinicians have reported that having real-time interpreter services available via telephone or video improved access to professional interpreters. The change to remote interpretation from on-site interpretation creates efficiencies when working with LEP patients, as it can be challenging to have on-site, professional interpreters available as needed.

Another research study about discharge preparedness showed the positive outcomes of providing a bedside interpreter phone for the LEP population. In this project, patients’ knowledge of their medication’s purpose increased by 9% when they had a bedside interpreter phone.

Josephs provided several recommendations for health systems:

  1. Increase remote interpretation to multiple areas and disciplines, such as dietary health, to be more inclusive of LEP patients and remove language barriers.
  2. Strive to better understand their patients’ communication preferences and implement interpretation applications for patients, family members, and staff.
  3. Find new ways to make LEP patients aware of your facility's multiple language services.

Want to test out CyraCom’s remote interpretation?

Contact our team at to learn more about our remote phone and video interpretation services.

You can also watch the video on how our app works here.


Lindsay Lawson

Lindsay Lawson

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in interpreting and translation services, how language works.