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How Over the Phone Interpreters Are Redefining The Doctor’s Office?

Accessibility - OPI - Translation - doctor - Interpreters

Over the Phone Interpretation (OPI) is rapidly becoming a vital resource for healthcare facilities seeking to accommodate patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). 

In the current post-pandemic and remote climate, the use of OPI is especially relevant as it enables individuals to access language services without the need for in-person contact. 

This technology can be employed within a healthcare facility, a remote call center, or almost any other location you can think of. 

It’s simple! When used on-demand the service provider offers a list of languages, numbers or codes and a subscriber ID to access the system. Most providers bill on a per-minute basis, commencing from the moment the call is connected. 

You can imagine how this incredibly simple tool has revolutionized healthcare and the doctor’s office. A patient meets with their Ad Astra interpreter and doctor.

In this piece we’ll explore how over the phone interpreters are redefining the doctor’s office.

Importance Of Communication In the Healthcare Industry 

The significance of effective communication in the healthcare industry is of the utmost importance. It involves exchanging crucial information between healthcare providers, patients, and their families. Inaccurate or complete information can lead to misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and adverse consequences. 

Non-English speaking patients in conventional medical settings may struggle to understand medical terminology, express their symptoms, or comprehend their diagnosis and treatment plans. This can lead to frustration, confusion, and decreased trust in the healthcare system. In more extreme examples it can lead to patient neglect or even death. 

Over phone interpreters are critical in addressing the communication barriers faced by non-English speaking patients. These interpreters can be accessed through a remote call center or facility, providing real-time interpretation services over the phone. Patients and healthcare providers can communicate accurately and effectively using OPI without needing face-to-face contact.  

This improves the quality of care for LEP patients and enhances their overall healthcare experience. A doctor thinks about using Ad Astra over the phone interpretation.

Advantages of Over the Phone Interpreters in the Doctor’s Office 

A study conducted by The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) revealed that a staggering 74% of consumers are inclined to make repeat purchases if they are provided

1. Convenience for Patients  

Over the Phone Interpreters (OPI) provide a high level of convenience for patients with limited English language proficiency (LEP). They no longer need to travel to a healthcare facility and wait for an in-person interpreter to be available. With OPI patients can access interpretation services from the comfort of their homes or wherever they may be.  

This eliminates the need for them to arrange transportation and take time off from work, making it easier and more convenient for them to receive the medical care they need. 

2. Increased Efficiency in Appointments 

OPI can also increase the efficiency of appointments by eliminating the wait time for an in-person interpreter to become available. This allows healthcare providers to see more patients in a shorter amount of time and improve their overall efficiency.  

Additionally, with OPI there is no need for patients to wait in a waiting room, which can be especially beneficial during emergencies or COVID-related illness. 

3. Improved Patient Outcomes 

Effective communication is crucial in healthcare and OPI ensures patients can accurately and quickly communicate their medical history and symptoms to their healthcare providers. 

This helps providers make an accurate diagnosis, prescribe the right treatment, and monitor their patients’ progress without delay. In turn, this can lead to improved patient outcomes, as patients receive the care they need promptly and effectively. 

4. Cost-Effectiveness Compared to In-Person Interpreters 

OPI is also a cost-effective solution for healthcare facilities compared to in-person interpreters. When used on-demand, most providers charge by the minute, with the charging starting when the call is connected. 

In comparison, in-person interpreters can be more expensive, especially if they must be on-call for extended periods. With OPI, healthcare facilities can save money while still providing high-quality interpretation services to their patients. 

Ad Astra has qualified Interpreters

How Over the Phone Interpreters Are Used in the Doctor’s Office 

Over the pone interpreters in doctor’s offices have become increasingly popular. The process is simple and straightforward and can be initiated by phone. 

Offices who need on-demand interpretation services call the OPI provider and provide them with their language code and a subscriber ID. This enables them to connect to the interpreter, who can provide real-time interpretation services during the appointment. 

By limiting the need for in-person interpreters, which can be time-consuming and logistically challenging to coordinate, you can take care of more patients. 

This means that doctors and staff can save time and focus on providing high-quality supervision to their patients and staff. Additionally, OPI eliminates the need for patients to bring their interpreters, which can also be a hassle. 

Challenges and Limitations of Over the Phone Interpreters in the Healthcare Industry 

Technical Difficulties: One of the challenges of using over-the-phone interpreters is the potential for technical difficulties during the call. The service requires a reliable phone connection and if the connection is lost, it can disrupt the conversation between the patient and the interpreter, leading to an unsuccessful appointment. 

Language Barriers: Another challenge of OPI is the potential for language barriers. Even with the extensive list of language codes available there may be some instances where an extremely rare dialect might take some extra work to locate or cause a longer hold time. 

Training and Accreditation: A concern in using over-the-phone interpreters is ensuring these interpreters are properly trained and accredited. They must have a good understanding of medical terminology and cultural differences to provide effective interpretation services. 

A doctor smiles while thinking about Ad Astra OPI services.


We hope you understand the importance of effective communication in healthcare and the challenges faced by non-English speaking patients in traditional doctor’s offices.  

Over the phone interpretation has emerged as a solution to these challenges, offering numerous benefits for patients and healthcare providers. Some key benefits include patient convenience, increased appointment efficiency, improved patient outcomes, and cost-effectiveness compared to in-person interpreters. 

Find out how we can help support your over the phone interpretation needs in the doctor’s office today! A healthcare team checks on a patient.