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Achieving the Triple Aim via Improved LEP Patient Communication

Published on March 07, 2016 by Graham Newnum
LEP Patient Communication Triple Aim

Better US healthcare depends on three factors, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI):

1. Patient experience

2. Health outcomes

3. Cost reduction

Together, these factors make up The Triple Aim. IHI published this guide in 2008, and hospitals nationwide use it to improve their standards of care.

To meet these Aims when treating limited-English proficient (LEP) patients, hospitals need a quality language services program with skilled, professional interpreters. Here’s why:

Interpretation Services Impact Satisfaction – And More

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) found that speaking to people in-language with professional interpreters:

Improves efficiency

Reduces errors

Boosts satisfaction

Hospitals may see similar results when they invest in language services. Happier patients may also rate hospitals higher on HCAHPS Patient Experience Surveys, improving hospital performance.

Better Communication Improves Health Outcomes

LEP patients face a higher risk of misdiagnosis, adverse outcomes, and avoidable readmission after discharge – often due to miscommunication.

Still, hospital staff sometimes bypass professional interpreters, using a bilingual colleague or family member instead.

Providers can improve interpreter usage with regular training and accountability. Language services should also streamline interpreter access, whether on-site or via phone or video. Staff will use an interpreter more consistently if the process is quick, easy, and reliable.

Better Communication Reduces Costs

Investing in high-quality language services may save hospitals money long-term. Professional interpreters may help hospitals avoid:

Medicare reimbursement cuts due to high readmission rates

Lost staff productivity during longer-than-necessary LEP patient interactions

Costly miscommunication-based diagnostic errors

Lost market share based on poor HCAHPS results

Providers can boost cost savings further by using language services efficiently. Often, that means partnering with an interpretation partner like CyraCom. Our clients gain access to hundreds of languages via phone and more than 25 via video for a fixed, per-minute rate.

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