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Cost-Saving Benefits of Translation Services Within Healthcare

3 minute read

Health professionals not being able to communicate well with their patients can impact health outcomes, increase the frequency of missed appointments and affect the overall patient experience. 

Implementing a digital translation service app into your Trust will bring many cost and time-saving benefits.

A significant proportion of the UK population does not have English as their first language. By communicating with patients ethnically appropriately, you can build trust with them and increase overall satisfaction, safety and efficiency. 

"The total NHS spending on translation and interpreting services for Trusts and Health Boards in the UK was £65,962,418 in 2019/2020."

source: https://bit.ly/3U79A3Q

There are many medical interpretation and translation services available on the market. This is a fantastic alternative to onsite interpreters, which may not be the most affordable or feasible option. Apps make the facilities accommodating for people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

A patient with LEP is one whose primary language is not English, and whose ability to read, write, speak, or understand English is limited (i.e., a non-fluent patient or a deaf/blind patient). With no English skills, a patient relies on interpretation or translation. 

While it’s merely impossible to accommodate all of the languages in the world, technology is making it much easier for language companies by gradually expanding linguistic division. 

Typically, apps would allow the medical staff member and patient to speak in turn on a live audio call with a qualified interpreter in the language of choice. This facilitates a clear understanding of conversation, whether it’s regarding procedural consent, diagnosis and the development of treatment plans. The service also operates 24 hours a day, so you can rely on instant access to interpreters, even in emergencies.

The average onsite interpreter, depending on language, usually costs between £35 and £60 per hour. Each tape will usually take between 5 and 10 hours to transcribe.

The wait time for an interpreter could sometimes be upwards of 25 minutes. Whereas healthcare translation technology saves time and money by gathering information and conveying it to the patient or medical staff instantly.

They also eliminate the need to involve family members or health assistants who may not be as qualified to interpret – as this could create potential errors within the care provision. Accurate communication is paramount to saving the lives of patients.

The benefits of language translation services are clear, and healthcare businesses would be wise to adopt the technology to improve patient care, communication, and treatment outcomes.

By switching to an app, the average Trust could save up to £1,064,459 per year. This equates to the following:

  • Total cost savings bedside consultations per annum – LEP = £74,579
  • Total cost saving for LEP patients, per annum per average Trust = £525,600
  • Total cost saving per LEP re-admission per annum, based on average stay = £464,280

Download the Handout to learn more. 


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That’s why we’ve built a new and advanced bedside unit, SPARK® Horizon, that hosts a suite of apps suitable for staff and patients to enrich the patient experience, drive efficiencies, and increase ROI for the NHS.

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