[Video description can be found below. If you use a screen reader and need to access the caption file transcript, go to “More…” and click on “Transcript”]
For June’s AHA segment, Howard A. Rosenblum discusses Video Remote Interpreting. The AHA Series is also available at www.nad.org/AHA.
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HOWARD: HOWARD: For this month’s AHA, I have been asked to discuss Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). There has been a huge increase in VRI usage, especially in hospital settings. There have been many unfortunate cases involving VRI in hospitals. Some have asked the NAD whether or not we support VRI, I’m happy to answer this question. In Atlanta, during the NAD Conference in 2014, the delegates voted VRI as the top priority during the Council of Representatives meeting. We fully agree. Several people have approached us, sharing complaints about situations with hospitals forcing deaf and hard of hearing patients to use VRI. While we are not able to accept all related cases across the 50 states, we are able to select a few awful cases. Recently, the NAD filed a lawsuit against George Washington University Hospital (GWUH) because there were three individual situations that were very bad experiences for the individuals. The first situation in the GWUH lawsuit involves a woman who was forced to use VRI while giving birth, which was not appropriate and also was not effective. Another situation involved a very sick person who was on the floor, nauseous, and could not get up. Despite that situation, the hospital tried to force her to use VRI. Using VRI there did not make sense and it was also not effective. The last situation of the GWUH lawsuit involves a person who had neck surgery and was on the bed without any ability to turn the neck. Even so, the hospital tried to force the use of VRI on the side of the bed where the patient could not see. This GWUH lawsuit is one example of many bad use of VRI cases that has happened across the country. This is a result of people being ignorant in the proper use of VRI. VRI vendors are telling hospitals that VRI is great, and hospitals are using them. Hospitals assume they’re following the ADA requirements because the ADA lists different ways to provide communication access and while one of those is qualified interpreters but another option is VRI. Hospitals assume that because VRI is listed, they can VRI for all situations. This should not be the case. The law clearly requires the provision of effective communication — which means people on both sides understand what is being said to each other. VRI often does not allow for effective communication because of low speed connections, blurry videos, disconnects, and the difficulty in using a flat screen monitor. Sometimes, an interpreter needs to be physically present in the room to see and hear what’s happening to to effectively communicate what is being said between doctor and patient. The NAD has established a task-force to analyze current VRI usage in hospitals, determine best practices, and make recommendations on optimal VRI usage. The NAD is also looking to collaborate with other organizations that monitor hospitals. Some of these monitoring organizations certify hospitals on policies and practices, and this certification should include appropriate use of VRI. It is our goal to establish VRI standards for all hospitals. Hospitals should be allowed to use VRI but only in limited, appropriate situations. For example, it might be acceptable in emergency rooms to use VRI until an in-person interpreter arrives. Or perhaps, in a rural area where there are no interpreters, it might be acceptable for a hospital to use VRI. We are looking into different ways to limit the use of VRI for only those situations where it is really necessary. It is not appropriate for hospitals to be using VRI in all situations. This is what the NAD is working hard to change. Thank you.
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