Refugee Settlements Cause Surge in LEP Populations: Stratus Video Interpreting Encourages Use of VRI to Increase Equal Access to Language Services

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As the U.S. LEP population continues to grow, Stratus Video Interpreting pushes for hospitals to use effective VRI technology that ensures equal access to language services for all—the company offers an affordable technology platform that allows healthcare facilities to connect doctors and LEP patients with a qualified interpreter in an effort to preserve patient safety and quality of care and lower cost.

Stratus Video Interpreting
VRI can replace OPI and in-person interpreting in an estimated 80% of all encounters at dramatically lower costs.

The U.S. has become known as a nation which settles more refugees than any other country worldwide. In fiscal 2013, there were 69,926 refugees admitted into the United States, up from 27,131 in 2002 (1)—and while some say that many of these individuals have been assimilated and made new lives for themselves in all 50 states, officials at Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) company Stratus Video Interpreting maintain that one crucial aspect of everyday life is eluding many: their propensity to speak little to no English has hampered their ability to effectively communicate in vital situations, such as in the healthcare setting. Stratus, a company dedicated to increasing language access for non-English speaking refugees and immigrants within the United States, provides a proprietary VRI technology to healthcare facilities nationwide, allowing health professionals to better assist non-English-speaking patients while preserving its level of safety and quality of service.

According to Stratus CEO Sean Belanger, the rising limited English proficiency (LEP) population means that nearly 100% of hospitals receive visits from LEP patients daily, (2) leaving the U.S. healthcare system in need of reliable but affordable interpreting technology. The continuous rise, per Belanger, can be attributed to several factors, such as individuals searching for jobs, leaving war zones, etc., and the result is that the U.S. is experiencing settlements in several states, such as:

•The Haitian immigrant population stood at 606,000 in 2012, and Haitians now constitute 1.5 percent of the total U.S. foreign-born population (3)—a number which some believe is concentrated in South Florida and one that has grown since the 2010 earthquake.

•According to the 2010 United States census:
oThe Hispanic or Latino population increased 43% from 2000-2010, a number which rises to nearly 82% when considering the state of Nevada alone;
oThe Asian population increased 43.3% overall and in Texas, increased nearly 72%. (4)

“These individuals often come to the U.S. and speak very little English, making effective communication between doctor and patient impossible without the use of an interpreter—but the issues arise in relation to cost and availability associated with in-person and over-the-phone (OPI) interpreting,” said Belanger. “VRI can replace OPI and in-person interpreting in an estimated 80% of all encounters at dramatically lower costs.”

According to the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. hospitals’ annual costs for providing interpreter services was $78 million for inpatient visits, $12 million for outpatient visits, and $8.6 million for emergency department visits in 2002 (5)—but in the years since, healthcare facilities have found themselves dealing with ever-increasing costs and Stratus President David Fetterolf estimates that hospitals now spend up to $700 million on language access services annually. In contrast, Stratus’ interpreting services cost about $1.50 per minute, and saved one hospital (in a 33-hospital system) over $6,500 in just three weeks (projecting to $214,500 for all hospitals in the system if their VRI usage were the same/similar), presenting an economical alternative or addition to current interpreting services for hospital systems nationwide.

Stratus executives maintain that the ever-increasing LEP population has created a market in which interpreting today is now a $2 billion dollar industry—one in which VRI is quickly becoming the modern technology rapidly replacing $1 billion of the market from face-to-face and OPI interpreting. As such, the company has continued in its efforts to provide effective interpreting services to those who need them by recently acquiring Capiche, a company which represents the forefront of modern interpreting systems and offers the first WebRTC-based interpreting platform that connects LEP individuals with interpreters. The integration of the Capiche platform expands Stratus’ technical capabilities into WebRTC, a leading edge communications platform, and will provide critical technology enhancements to meet the rapidly growing demand for VRI.

Stratus has also been very vocal in pushing for nationwide standardization with regard to language services within healthcare and court systems, which the company deems necessary due to the rising diversity of the U.S. population.

For more information about Stratus and its services, visit http://www.stratusvideo.com.

About Stratus Video Interpreting:

Stratus Video Interpreting provides on-demand interpreter services by using technology to connect clients with interpreters in over 175 spoken and signed languages in less than 30 seconds. Stratus’ cloud-based video solution delivers an array of unique features to virtually any Internet-enabled PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. Stratus clients use the technology to connect with their own staff interpreters, as well as with Stratus interpreters, who have years of healthcare and courtroom experience and hold multiple certifications. With Stratus, state-of-the-art video remote interpreting is made available with virtually no capital investment. Stratus averages 65,000 video calls a day, up from 40,000 in mid-2013. Stratus Video is the sister company of The Z® (CSDVRS, LLC, dba ZVRS), which was established in 2006 and developed by and for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, setting the industry standard as the nation’s premier Video Relay Service Provider and the first VRS Provider to receive a 5-Year certification from the FCC. In 2014, Stratus was recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies, ranking #3,827 on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list. For more information, visit http://www.stratusvideo.com.

1. McCarthy, Ryan. “How America’s Refugee Population Has Changed over Time.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/08/13/how-americas-refugee-population-has-changed-over-time/.

2. “The Affordable Care Act: Say ‘Hola’ to Your Patients.” N.p., 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 May 2014. prlog.org/12215123-the-affordable-care-act-say-hola-to-your-patients.html.

3. Nwosu, Chiamaka, and Jeanne Batalova. “Haitian Immigrants in the United States.” Migrationpolicy.org. N.p., 29 May 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. migrationpolicy.org/article/haitian-immigrants-united-states.

4. "2010 Census Data." http://www.census.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2014. census.gov/2010census/data/.

5. Rice, Sabriya. “Hospitals Often Ignore Policy on Using Qualified Medical Interpreters, Patient Safety Is Endangered.” Modern Healthcare. N.p., 30 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. modernhealthcare.com/article/20140830/MAGAZINE/308309945?AllowView=VXQ0UnpwZTVBdmVlL1I3TkErT1lBajNja0U4VUF1VmRFQk1FQVE9PQ%3D%3D.

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