Dialysis Clinics Use VRI to Support Patient Privacy, Clinical Accessibility and Convenience


There’s nothing more rewarding in our business than remembering why we do what we do every day. We believe that every patient deserves access to the highest quality healthcare regardless of language, cultural background or disability, and we take pride in knowing our healthcare partners are using video remote interpreting (VRI) to truly make this happen.

One such case is the Northwest Kidney Centers, a nonprofit, community-based organization with a mission to promote the optimal health, quality of life and independence of people with kidney disease through patient care, education and research. The organization was facing a challenge in meeting the language access needs of a growing population of LEP patients requesting interpreter services, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to fully meet their needs through telephone and interpreter services. To see the case study click here.  

“In addition to the challenge of remembering to schedule interpreters for patient visits, things would spontaneously come up where we needed to immediately discuss something with a patient, which would also require an interpreter,” said Glenda Brown, Social Worker, Northwest Kidney Centers. “If we had to call an on-site interpreter it could delay care and important conversations we needed to have with our patients.” 

There were also times when patients did not show up for appointments when on-site interpreters had already been scheduled. This could get expensive as the organization would still have to pay for the interpreter visit and travel time, regardless of whether or not a patient was present.

“Additionally, when we would call an on-site interpreter for some of the rarer languages requested, the patient was often a relative of the interpreter because there were so few native speakers of a particular language in the area,” said Brown. “This made medical conversations awkward and violated patient confidentially.”

Adopting VRI across the Organization  

Fortuitously, leaders of the Northwest Kidney Centers attended a safety coalition meeting a few years ago where they first learned of the benefits of video remote interpreting (VRI). They heard from several other healthcare organizations the specific product benefits of using InDemand Interpreting as well as the cost savings providers could experience when working with a VRI provider. The conversation inspired administrators to adopt InDemand VRI throughout all of the Northwest Kidney Centers’ clinics. 

Today clinicians at the Northwest Kidney Centers have access to language services through large, touch-screen carts with screens that can be adjusted to accommodate dialysis patients who are usually reclined in a chair. Screens can also be swiveled into a portrait mode, enabling Deaf patients to clearly see American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Northwest Kidney Centers is also in the process of rolling out handsets that can be used to increase privacy in the dialysis clinics where patients are just a few feet from one another. Clinicians and patients have found the new technology to work reliably and promote better communication with patients.

“I have been using VRI at our clinic for more than two years now, and I’m really pleased with the accessibility of the solution and that we do not need an appointment to connect with an interpreter,” said Brown. “I’m a huge fan of InDemand VRI. I find it very convenient and easy to use.”

Patient Satisfaction with interpreting is Increasing   

Northwest Kidney Centers has now been using InDemand VRI for three years and clinicians have been pleased with the ability to connect with an interpreter in less than 30 seconds.

“Using VRI has enabled me to solve many of the problems I was experiencing previously and has also made our patients very happy to be able to communicate with us right when they arrive for their appointments,” said Brown.  

To learn more about the Northwest Kidney Centers and many others who are using VRI to ensure regulatory compliance, improve clinical efficiencies and impact outcomes, see the link below: 

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