The sometimes surprising questions we hear about language access policy from healthcare providers

Whether you’re creating a new language access plan or you’re revising your organization’s existing plan, someone on your staff probably has questions about language access.

Language access can be a complex subject, and your organization’s language access plan may call for responding to different in situations in different ways. When facing a limited English proficient patient, your staff needs to quickly assess what language is needed an interpreter for and whether an on-site, over-the-phone, or video remote interpreter is most appropriate.

When our team here at Certified Languages International assists large healthcare systems implement our remote interpreting service into their workflows, and we often hear some of the same questions come up again and again. They’re often not specific to remote interpreting and are often more about language access in general.

Many of those questions we hear are a little surprising:

  • “Why can’t they just learn to speak English?”
  • “Why can’t we rely on family members to communicate?”
  • “How does it work?”

We think that it’s beneficial for language access coordinators to be aware of these questions in advance. We recommend taking some time to think about how you would answer such questions and integrating answers to these questions into your formal language access plans.

When people understand the logic behind a plan, it’s easier for them to follow. Knowing the whys will help your staff successfully integrate prescribed language access procedures into their normal workflow.

If you want to see how our implementation team answers questions like these and more, download our Language Access Planning Workbook. It contains suggestions for engaging and educating your staff about language access at your facility to ensure its success.