Bilingual staff break telehealth barriers with audio-only visits

Measuring the effectiveness of telehealth in minority health centers

A study published by SSM – Qualitative Research in Health researched how impactful telehealth is in community health centers, specifically clinics that serve Chinese and Latino immigrants. Researchers conducted thorough interviews remotely with 24 patients. They primarily asked questions regarding telehealth experience, specifically for those whose first language isn’t English. They also asked about any barriers the patient noticed with their use of telehealth since their health center implemented it in the spring of 2020. Through their research, they established two primary factors that determine the success of implementing telehealth into these health centers. 

How bilingual staff and audio-only visits changed how consultations are conducted

One of the most common factors that kept coming up in interviews with these patients is having bilingual staff. The research identified limited English proficiency as a barrier that prevented them from receiving high-quality care. Underserved communities can get the same level of care as English-speaking patients by having personnel help them in virtual visits through translating instructions. Clinics should consider this and put more funding towards the availability of bilingual providers who can “deliver both cultural and language-appropriate services”. The study also found many of these non-English speaking patients preferred audio-only visits as it simplified the process of a consultation instead of requiring family members to help. Telephone appointments such as follow-up calls have been in-place pre-pandemic, which most patients have responded positively to. 

Why Porton Health is the right telehealth choice

At Porton Health, our upcoming MeetApp allows patients to choose their preferred method of consultation to meet with a provider, such as audio-only. This gives patients comfort and ease of mind when speaking to a medical professional. Our application opens up the opportunity to speak with bilingual staff in any clinic, no matter where you are located. This eases physical contact and alleviates the issue of not having a provider that speaks your native language. Our platform allows clinics to tailor their virtual meeting experience to their primary patients and assist them through the process. 

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Payán, D. D., Frehn, J. L., Garcia, L., Tierney, A. A., & Rodriguez, H. P. (2022, February 10). Telemedicine implementation and use in community health centers during COVID-19: Clinic personnel and Patient Perspectives. SSM – Qualitative Research in Health. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from