ULG's Language Services Blog

Telehealth: Maintaining Care & Communication in a Virtual Setting


Telehealth has proven to be an incredibly effective response to the stay-at-home orders incited by the COVID-19 pandemic. The telehealth services industry is expected to grow nearly 65% in 2020 as demand for simple, efficient, and convenient healthcare services has risen.

This increasing demand for telehealth services is driven largely by the ease of use and accessibility of the virtual care. However, these benefits may not be as easily accessible to some people. Individuals who are hard of hearing, Deaf, or have limited English proficiency (LEP) face additional communication obstacles in a telehealth setting.

Many healthcare providers are turning to video-remote interpreting (VRI) to maintain care and communication with patients as telehealth continues to expand. Additionally, VRI helps organizations uphold ACA compliance and meet crucial language access requirements.

What is VRI?

Did you know that the LEP population represents approximately 8% of the US population? Additionally, close to 10,000,000 people are hard of hearing and nearly 1,000,000 people are functionally Deaf in the United States.

VRI services provide hard of hearing, Deaf, and LEP patients with live video and audio connections to interpreters so that they can effectively communicate with their medical provider.

VRI creates the opportunity for healthcare providers to develop strong interpersonal relationships with their patients by providing immediate and effective interpretation.

This service generates the power of face-to-face interactions within a convenient, web-based portal. Incorporating VRI into telehealth programs mitigates risks for patients and bolsters the quality of care they receive. 

Benefits of VRI

There are many benefits to using VRI including:

  1. Face-to-face communication. This interaction improves the clarity of the conversation which reduces miscommunication. Mitigating communication errors in high risk medical situations is critical, and VRI provides a solution for alleviating potential confusion.
  2. Ensures proper ACA compliance. Utilizing VRI isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, but is essential for healthcare organizations to continue to provide quality care with compliant language access.
  3. Access to remote interpreters. VRI allows to access interpreters both on-demand and scheduled in advance. Providers can choose to schedule interpreters ahead of time or dial them into appointments in real time which makes VRI highly accessible.
  4. Simple to set up. The VRI technology offered through ULG can be directly integrated with telehealth programs. This creates an easy and seamless experience for both the provider and the patient.

How VRI Works

To begin using VRI technology, the provider’s team first determines the degree to which their Telehealth platform can exchange information and operate with other systems.

Then, ULG’s engineers will work with the Telehealth program’s engineers to integrate the two technologies.

Once the systems are integrated, providers will be able to access interpreters on-demand or schedule an interpreter in advance for any virtual appointment.

The Future of Telehealth

Will telehealth popularity diminish after the pandemic subsides?

A recent survey revealed that telehealth is here to stay. The survey found that 59% of participants are more inclined now than ever before to use telehealth services, and 36% noted that they would even leave their current physician for one who offered virtual care.  

Incorporating VRI into a virtual medical appointment empowers providers and patients to communicate immediately, easily, and effectively. It also ensures that healthcare organizations are maintaining compliance with language access requirements set forth by the ACA.

As your healthcare organization navigates the landscape of language access in a virtual format, ULG can help maintain communication and regulatory compliance at each step.


Ready to see how VRI can help your telehealth program? Contact us today!