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When Is It Appropriate To Use VRI For ASL Healthcare Patients?

Technology, Popular Francesco Pagano on Nov 18, 2015 11:00:00 AM


Let's face it: hospitals are not an inviting place for deaf people who are looking for medical care. Deaf patients are prevented from receiving appropriate medical attention, mostly due to communication barriers. However, there is a better way to provide affordable communication for deaf patients.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is an incredible resource for last-minute interpreting needs or for emergencies when there isn’t enough time to get a professional interpreter on site. Besides meeting last minute needs, VRI is a key resource for helping healthcare professionals meet the needs of their deaf/hard of hearing patients. Using VRI with ASL can increase the availability of qualified interpreters, while reducing inherent costs for the healthcare providers. A multitude of factors can help to determine if VRI is appropriate for a particular deaf consumer or event. This post will provide a brief overview of the benefits of VRI for the deaf as well as when to use VRI for ASL healthcare patients.

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of VRI For The Deaf?

One of the main advantages of VRI is that it can be accessed immediately from any location with the proper technology. ASL interpreters often book their appointments 2-3 weeks in advance, so when a last minute need arises, it’s essential to have access to affordable interpreting services. Also, minimum time fees can be lower than for regular interpreting, and there aren’t travel fees associated with the final cost.

VRI is not a blanket solution, however, as some of the benefits of in-person contact are lost when the interpreter is not present. Following this idea, there are some people who understand interpreters better if the interpreter is with them in person. We’ve encountered situations where deaf/hard of hearing people do not like using this technology. Finally, an obvious disadvantage of VRI can be dependence on technology; essentially, if the equipment is not working properly, interpreting cannot take place.

How Does A Typical VRI For ASL Situation Work?

Typically, the person with the hearing issue is situated in a room with video conferencing equipment. This equipment can either be a computer with a web camera and a microphone or a tablet such as an iPad. Next, the interpreter will appear on screen. This remote interpreter will listen through a headset to what is being said and will then interpret it. The deaf or hard of hearing person watches the interpreter on the screen. Likewise, the interpreter is able to see the deaf/hard of hearing person via the camera.

When Is It Appropriate To Use Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) For ASL Healthcare Situation?

There are a few occasions when it is appropriate to use VRI for ASL health care applications, including:

  • Events where a qualified ASL interpreter is not available to attend onsite
  • Simple events that are less than 30 minutes in duration, when it might be more convenient to opt for VRI rather than expect an interpreter to travel
  • LEP patient assistance with a doctor’s appointment
  • LEP patient communication during an emergency room visit

iTi | Video Remote Interpreting For The Deaf

iTi Video Interpreting is the most innovative and easy to use Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) solution ever introduced. When hearing impaired/deaf or Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons are in need of an interpreter, iTi Video Interpreting connects you to a certified interpreter in less than 1 minute. This PC-based solution can be utilized on stand-alone PCs/laptops or your own systems.
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Last Updated December-12-2016