How VRI Is Breaking Barriers in the Healthcare Industry
By David Fetterolf
As the limited English proficient (LEP) patient population in the United States continues to rise, it is essential for health care providers to have an effective language access solution in place—one that will guarantee meaningful access to healthcare information for all patients. Fortunately, video remote interpretation (VRI) continues to break down language barriers that prevent effective and efficient healthcare services.
Here’s how—and why—these providers should take steps to implement VRI and create the ideal language access solution:
Assessing the Language Gap
As stated, the LEP population in the United States is on the rise. Currently, there are over 25 million Americans with a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English. While these numbers reflect the melting pot ideals that the United States espouses, they also demonstrate a growing need for adequate language access services.
The issue stems from the simple fact that LEP individuals struggle to communicate in the English language. Meaningful understanding is particularly important when it comes to individual health and well-being as, in order to provide informed consent to healthcare information, each individual must possess a complete and meaningful understanding of the condition, procedure and any associated risk—and be able to communicate it accurately. When language services are not utilized, miscommunication can lead to misdiagnosis, medical error and poor patient outcome.
Language Access Requirements in Healthcare
For that reason, several pieces of legislation were put in place to assure meaningful language access and interpretation services for the entire U.S. LEP population. These legislations include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 13166, The Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Regulations and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. If organizations that receive federal funding (directly or indirectly) do not maintain compliance with these laws, the Department of Justice and the Joint Commission may strip reimbursement.
Essentially, each creates a requirement for the LEP and Deaf/Hard of Hearing patient population to be provided meaningful access to healthcare information, such as through the use of a qualified medical interpreter. Qualified medical interpreters can be accessed on-site, via phone or video. Interpreters who are medically qualified can quickly determine when a cultural difference is negatively impacting patient-provider communication and act accordingly, resulting in improved patient care and outcome.
The Benefits of Video Remote Interpretation
The most significant benefits of video remote interpretation (VRI) include:
- The immediacy the video connection provides. Treatment is initiated immediately, something that could have been delayed without access to an on-demand video interpreter.
- The face-to-face connection that video provides.
- Utilization when patient is not on-site. Video remote interpreters can either place a follow up call on behalf of the hospital staff or join a three-way call for an appointment, while the patient remains where they are most comfortable.
These factors not only improve the patient’s overall experience, but also heighten their level of satisfaction, strengthening the patient-provider relationship, the likelihood that the patient will return to receive additional care, and the overall outcome of the patient. The use of video remote interpreting has also been shown to lower cost of language compliance and enhance technological innovation at hospitals.
With mounting evidence supporting improvement of LEP patient outcome via the use of qualified medical interpreters, healthcare professionals are increasingly investing in effective healthcare language services. VRI is breaking down language barriers thanks to its immediate connectivity to a wide range of language pairs. Such connectivity enables providers to easily comply with requirements surrounding language services in healthcare, ensuring meaningful access to healthcare information for all patients.
About David: David leads the overall strategic direction of Stratus Video’s Language Services division. David brings over 26 years of experience working for healthcare information technology and service companies. Prior to joining Stratus Video, he was president and founder of MDeverywhere, revenue cycle management software tailored to the healthcare industry. In 2011 MDeverywhere made the coveted Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing companies list. Prior to MDeverywhere, David was a division president for Datamedic, a leading provider of computer-based patient records and business management software and services for medical practices and clinics. As division president, he was responsible for strategy and financial performance, which included leading the marketing, sales, implementation, support, and manufacturing and development teams. David has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a Masters of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
PRESS RELEASE: Study shows how growth factor aids stem cells’ ability to regenerate damaged teeth
Durham, NC, US; 24 October 2017 – In a new study published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, researchers used a type of platelet-derived growth factor called PDGF-BB that enhances cells’ ability to regenerate dentin-pulp complex.
Many in the medical community view stem cell therapy as a promising new strategy for repairing teeth once thought to be irreversibly damaged by tooth decay or dental injuries. The benefits of human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs), isolated from the living connective tissue in the tooth’s center, on such damage have been well documented in studies.
However, previous studies also revealed several problems with this type of treatment, including limitations on how much mineralized tissue can be formed when scaffolds with hDPSCs alone were implanted in nude mice. More importantly, the narrow root canal of a tooth limits tissue infiltration and the revascularization process, which also worked against the implanted hDPSCs.
Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s School of Medicine have found what they believe is a way to overcome these limitations. They showed that when scaffolds containing engineered cells were implanted in mice for 12 weeks, the group of mice treated using scaffolds seeded with PDGF-BB cells, a well-known potent mitogenic, angiogenic, and chemoattractive agent that has been widely used in tissue regeneration, outperformed the other groups when it came to generating more dentin-like mineralized tissue that showed positive staining for the DSPP protein — similar to tooth dentin tissue — and was surrounded by highly vascularized, dental pulp-like connective tissue.
“Our study also showed that PDGF-BB has many other beneficial effects, too, including significantly increasing the proliferation of the hDPSCs,” said Xinquan Jiang, DDS, Ph.D., who led the study along with Wenjie Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
“Our data demonstrated that the PDGF-BB possesses a powerful function in prompting stem cell-based dentin-pulp tissue regeneration. We believe these findings represent an important step toward the optimal application of PDGF-BB for improving hDPSCs-mediated, dentin-pulp complex regeneration,” Dr. Zhang said.
Maolin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., mainly performed this research under the guidance of Drs. Jiang and Zhang. “PDGF-BB, as a safe and multipotent growth factor, has been widely used in periodontal tissue regeneration and showed reliable clinical effects. Our research shows the potential value of PDGF-BB on dentin-pulp tissue regeneration,” he said. “In the next step we will think about the clinical application of PDGF-BB on dentin-pulp tissue regeneration in treating dental pulp disease.”
“This research suggests an optimized strategy for using regenerative medicine as an alternative to conventional root canal therapy,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.”
The full article, “The effects of PDGF-BB on human dental pulp stem cells mediated dentin-pulp complex regeneration,” can be accessed at http://www.stemcellstm.com.
About STEM CELLS Translational Medicine: STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), published by AlphaMed Press, is a monthly peer-reviewed publication dedicated to significantly advancing the clinical utilization of stem cell molecular and cellular biology. By bridging stem cell research and clinical trials, SCTM will help move applications of these critical investigations closer to accepted best practices.
About AlphaMed Press: Established in 1983, AlphaMed Press with offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, publishes two other internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals: STEM CELLS® (http://www.StemCells.com), celebrating its 35th year, is the world’s first journal devoted to this fast paced field of research. The Oncologist® (http://www.TheOncologist.com), also a monthly peer-reviewed publication, entering its 22nd year, is devoted to community and hospital-based oncologists and physicians entrusted with cancer patient care. All three journals are premier periodicals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing knowledge and education in their focused disciplines.
About Wiley: Wiley, a global company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions, help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company’s website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.
What you need to know before you go to Mexico for dental care
By Alexa Liacko
kgun9.com – NOGALES, Mexico (KGUN9-TV) – Would you trust a dentist in Mexico to work on your teeth to save a few hundred dollars? Many people would still choose to go to a Dentist in Vista instead, but more and more people are now doing that. But, not all clinics are created equal, so it’s important you do your research before you go.
In Nogales, treatments like implants, crowns and other procedures cost hundreds of dollars less than they do in the states. And if you find the right clinic, patients say the quality is unbeatable too. Having dental crowns fitted by a reliable and careful dental practice is essential, especially because you’re trying to protect already damaged teeth. So make sure the dentist has good reviews.
“It’s no good having cheap if the quality isn’t there,” said patient Dianne McFaul. “But the quality actually is much better than what we found over there.”
The McFaul’s came to Nogales for x-rays and a crown, and they’ll get it all in just one visit.
“Having a crown done, usually you have to wait a week or two and then come back,” McFaul said. “It’s all done in one day here, and it’s so funny to see your little tooth being made on the 3D printer.”
Tips and resources for potential medical tourists:
If you’re chomping at the bit to save money but still want to leave with a smile, here are some steps you can take:
First: do your research. “Make sure the doctor is a certified doctor,” said Jesus Murillo of Dental Departures.
Dental Departures is a website that allows you to search by procedure and region for the dental care you’re looking for. It lists the dentists’ certification and each clinic’s contact information.
“Every clinic that is published on our website, we visit them, we take the pictures, we meet the doctors,” said Murillo.
Another resource that patients considering medical tourism should reference is Patients Beyond Borders. It is not just limited to dental procedures and answers many questions you may have before heading out of the country. They have published a step by step guide to planning a successful trip out of the country for medical and dental care.
Some of the questions Patients Beyond Borders say you need to ask a clinic before you visit include:
- What are the dentists’ credentials? Did they attend medical school or just a training program? Ask if the dentist is U.S. board certified because many are.
- Does the clinic have easy to access contact information? If they aren’t prompt to respond to you, move on.
- How cheap is the price? Finding the best price may not always be the best option. Saving 30% but getting better quality work than the clinic with 70% savings is worth it.
- What happens if I have a complication? It is important you make plans with the clinic in case of a complication. There are not guarantees in place like there are in the U.S., but speak with your clinic before the procedure to ensure you can get follow up care if needed.
Second: check reviews. Both Patients Beyond Borders and Dental Departures list reviews or comments from patients, but other websites like Google and Yelp can be helpful.
Third: appearance and cleanliness of the clinic is key.
Experts definitely recommend you ask about the technology a clinic has. For example, the Dental Bliss clinic in Nogales has what functions as a 3D printer that can make you a new ceramic tooth in just 30 minutes.
Josef Woodman of Patients Beyond Borders cautions patients to use their instincts. If something appears off, you can refuse treatment right up until the very last minute. It is important to keep your health in mind over finding a cheap price.
If you’re worried about getting down to Nogales, Coyote Dental leaves from Tucson twice a week and goes straight to clinics in Nogales.
“We’re a shuttle service and a referral service for patients to save 70% on their dental work in Nogales,” said retired dentist Mark McMahon. “So, we bring people down and show them the ropes, teach them how to get across and save them all kinds of cash.”
Local Dentists’ word of caution:
Local dentists here say there are always risks, but it’s all about the research. “Dental care is not regulated like it is in Arizona. There’s no dental board to file a complaint with,” said Dr. Kevin Earle of the Arizona Dental Association.
He did say that there are clinics that offer good care in Nogales and in Mexico, but he cautions the patient to really do their research. Sometimes high-quality materials are substituted for lesser materials, and that’s hard for patients to verify. If the dentist can’t disclose the quality of equipment, it might be best to stay with your Dentist Fort Wayne in America. If the dentist is using poor materials, it can only lead to poor results.
“It is an alternative, but maybe not the best alternative,” Earle said.
For some, though, it is the only alternative to high premiums or poor insurance. But, the name of the game: with the right background research, there can be a way to get quality care for an affordable price. Dentistry can be a significant procedure, so it is important for it to be precise.
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Travel insurance providers remove mental health illness exclusions
By Lucy Cormack
smh.com.au – Some of Australia’s largest insurance providers have revised travel insurance policies that have long contained blanket exclusions for mental health conditions.
Cover-More Australia and QBE Insurance have recently removed exclusions in their policies that deny cover to people who cancel or change travel plans due to a mental illness that develops after they buy a policy.
The moves have been welcomed by the public interest and mental health sectors.
“We have assisted more than 100 clients who have been treated unfairly and in many cases unlawfully by insurance companies as a result of experiencing mental health symptoms,” Public Interest Advocacy Centre chief executive Jonathon Hunyor said.
Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said he hoped more insurers would “see the sense in removing such exclusions”.
The significance of the policy change is not lost on former Cover-More customer John*, 24, whose five-week holiday in 2015 was cut short when he was admitted to hospital in Croatia after an episode of psychosis.
“Like many young Australians, John went on holiday and sensibly bought travel insurance. But while he was in Croatia he developed unusual behaviours,” said James Scott, associate professor and consultant psychiatrist at the University of Queensland, and John’s doctor upon returning home.
After a three-week stay in a Croatian hospital, John’s travel and medical expenses had swelled to more than $17,000, which he intended to claim through his international travel insurance policy.
However, he soon learnt he was not covered, as claims “directly or indirectly arising from anxiety, depression, mental or nervous disorders” would not be covered unless “separately applied for”.
Dr James Scott, associate professor and consultant psychiatrist at the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine. Photo: University of Queensland
Having never experienced a mental health illness, John never thought he would need additional cover.
“Over a person’s lifetime about three in 100 people will have an episode of psychosis … and that’s why you need insurance, because it’s unpredictable. These exclusions are pure discrimination,” Dr Scott said.
After seeking legal assistance from PIAC, John and his family were reimbursed all costs by Cover-More.
Cover-More group chief executive Mike Emmett said the change was something “the travel insurance industry, including us, has neglected for too long”.
“We recognise the critical importance of incorporating specific cover for people with mental health conditions into our policies,” he said.
On July 1, QBE Insurance revised its policy to provide cover due to a first diagnosis of a mental illness after a policy is purchased.
“QBE is seeing an increase in travel insurance claims for mental illness, reflective of the increased frequency of diagnosis of mental illness,” a spokeswoman said.
The updated policy follows the landmark win of Victorian student Ella Ingram, who took QBE to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, after it twice denied her claim for travel cancellation costs, due to mental health conditions.
Other providers that offer varying degrees of mental illness cover under specific circumstances or added premiums include Bupa, InsureandGo, NRMA, CGU and Budget Direct.
*Name has been changed on request
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