With more than 124,518 reported cases and 4,607 deaths since its discovery, coronavirus, or COVID-19, is now being documented in 118 countries worldwide. It is believed that a coordinated global response is crucial to effectively contain or manage the outbreak. Professor Gabriel Leung, who worked to eradicate the SARS virus in 2003, is urging countries to take precautions and implement rigorous infection control.

Origins of COVID-19

We now understand that this new coronavirus likely jumped to humans from animals within the dangerous wild animal food markets that are popular in China and across Asia. The resulting respiratory disease has no known cure, treatments, or effective vaccine as of now. While the majority of patients do recover, the most vulnerable populations (those of advanced age and/or with underlying medical conditions) carry a greater risk of serious complications, including death. The intense media attention on the virus focuses on the overriding importance of containment and the slowing down of the spread of the virus.

Reducing Risk of Exposure: Remote Interpreting

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website has extensive resources available in many languages with information and materials relating to preparedness, emergency response plans and reliable data and statistics on health and safety. All of these resources are free to share.

The CDC guidelines include limiting the exposure to sick patients as much as possible. With COVID-19 likely being transmitted through air droplets, human contact, or by touching contaminated surfaces, large scale public events, including business conferences are being cancelled and medical facilities are urging patients with symptoms similar to those of the virus not to appear in person, but to call for advice instead.

On-demand video and over-the-phone interpreting services enable the continuing provision of high-quality medical care, while simultaneously reducing exposure to the virus.

HIPAA Compliant Interpreting Software

For containment measures to be fully effective, all medical services must have the infrastructure in place to effectively communicate with their patients over the phone, or through some other remote platform. This means having high quality, reliable interpreting services available 24/7 to ensure accurate communication between patients and doctors. At PGLS, we utilize HIPAA compliant software for instant over-the-phone (OPI) and video (VRI) interpreting services. These types of systems will prove invaluable in the coming weeks, as we strive to contain the spread of this disease as swiftly as possible.

Remote Interpreting will also benefit those affected by the cancellation or delay of non-urgent medical procedures, allowing them to continue receiving quality healthcare and advice, while limiting their potential risk of exposure to the virus.

Remote Interpreting Applications

OPI and VRI can be used for patients who speak limited or no English, and for those who are deaf or hearing impaired, both at home, in the hospital, or anywhere, effectively eliminating the need for on-site interpreters and minimizing the potential for further exposure through unnecessary human contact.

The immediacy and quality of the interpreting services available dictates how beneficial this is in practice. When doctors are able to communicate freely with their patients, they are in the best position to respond appropriately to their medical needs and the needs of the wider community in terms of outbreak containment.

In addition to healthcare, remote interpreting services can help businesses to mitigate the impact of the virus. As the economic effects of this public health emergency are predicted to be dire at best, it is paramount that businesses do what they can to both protect their work force from infection and also continue operations. Implementing remote conferencing and phone/video meetings with the use of dedicated interpreting services can seamlessly support communication while limiting unnecessary exposure.

While seemingly inconvenient to some, preventive measures are necessary to ultimately protect our global community. Highly responsive and reliable remote interpretation enables the healthcare community to better control the spread of this disease and businesses to continue operations while responding appropriately to this public health crisis.

Check out our Remote Interpreting Services today, and see how PGLS can help you keep the lines of communication open, no matter where you are.