8 Ways to Evaluate the Quality of a VRI Interpreter


To support communication between clinicians and their limited English proficient, Deaf and hard of hearing patients, healthcare organizations nationwide are partnering with high performing language service providers. But selecting the right VRI partner can be a daunting task. There are many factors that can impact the quality, reliability and accessibility of an interpreting service, perhaps none of which is more critical than the quality of its interpreters. Learn more here about the quality of InDemand interpreters, focused 100 percent on the medical industry with unparalleled certifications, qualifications and experience. We recommend considering the following eight elements when evaluating VRI interpreters to ensure patient safety and the best possible patient experience:

1) Certification. Interpreters should possess the requisite medical interpreting qualifications, experience and training to facilitate the most effective communication between clinicians and their patients. This means interpreters are nationally certified for spoken languages by either the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) or the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) or on a path to pursuing certification. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) should be credentialed by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and have substantial experience as medical interpreters.

2) Performance Monitoring. Measuring the quality of interpreter performance is key to a high performing VRI program. InDemand has a robust silent monitoring program to measure performance against a standardized set of criteria to effectively evaluate interpreters. Silent monitoring specialists and interpreting managers are qualified, trained, calibrated and evaluated for their ability to objectively evaluate interpreter performance. The results are used to provide feedback for training, interpreter coaching and professional development goals and a well-documented action plan for performance improvement if interpreters fall below a score of three out of five in a specific monitoring domain.

3) Third Party Evaluations. Achieving certification is important, but it’s also critical to conduct internal testing to evaluate interpreter effectiveness. All InDemand interpreters take and pass a medically-focused interpreting assessment in both their target language as well as English at a suitable level. InDemand uses a nationally recognized test to ensure interpreters are able to pass the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR), a government established language and interpreting proficiency scale, which are calibrated to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency scale.

4) Compliant and Qualified. InDemand interpreters meet and exceed HIPAA and federal regulations in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act for “medically qualified interpreters.” If healthcare organizations receive Medicare, Medicaid or reimbursement from federal health programs, they are legally obligated to provide language access services to LEP, Deaf and hard of hearing (HOH) patients. Under the regulations, a “qualified” interpreter is defined as an individual who:

  • Adheres to interpreter ethics and client confidentiality requirements
  • Has demonstrated language proficiency
  • Can interpret effectively, accurately and impartially including specialized medical terminology.

5) Responsive to Customer Feedback. Customer feedback is critical to the evolution of interpreter quality and client satisfaction. Complaints should be an important part of a quality assurance program. At InDemand, all complaints, while rare, are shared with the Director of Quality and then thoroughly investigated with the involvement of department managers.  

6) Star Ratings. At the end of every InDemand VRI encounter, clinicians have the opportunity to rate the interpreter call on screen with a simple 1-5 star rating. These ratings are reviewed regularly to spot trends, areas of success and areas for improvement. InDemand regularly reviews average star ratings. This serves as a barometer to help gauge overall quality and client satisfaction.

7) Cultural and Ethics Training. All interpreters should receive training on the cultural nuances and sensitives for interpreting with many unique cultures in a medical environment.

8) Professional Development and Training. Professional interpreters seek out opportunities to improve their skills, continuing education and maintain certifications. InDemand offers opportunities to improve knowledge and skillset(s) on a regular basis to support clinician needs and identified areas of growth. This ranges from silent monitoring to comprehensive trainings and coaching.

Learn more about how InDemand’s certified, qualified and experienced medical interpreters can help meet the language access needs of your organization by clicking here.e-book: Top 5 Considerations when Selecting a VRI Provider

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