Voyce, a language services provider specializing in remote interpreting services, has formed a partnership with Healthcare IT Leaders to develop an on-demand network of medical interpreters to help with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.
Interpreters will offer services in nearly 240 different languages. Healthcare IT Leaders provide the contact tracing services, while Voyce taps into its network of interpreters to provide interpretations when a non-English speaker is contacted and needs assistance in their native or preferred language.
“Addressing potential exposure to COVID-19 is more easily done when people are able to effectively communicate, regardless of language spoken,” said Andrew Royce, Voyce’s CEO. “We look forward to working with Healthcare IT Leaders to help keep people safe and healthy by providing information that is timely and communicated across hundreds of languages.”
Contact tracing has been notoriously tricky in the United States. Early on in the pandemic, it was reported that immigrant communities were facing distinct challenges with regards to contact tracing efforts, as many public health departments had a limited number of multilingual staffers to aid in contact tracing. Because of the difficulties in contact tracing among immigrant communities and other issues with language barriers in the healthcare system, communities with large numbers of individuals with limited English proficiency were disproportionately hit by COVID-19.
In light of the recently spreading omicron variant, local governments across the U.S. are vamping up their COVID-19 contact tracing practices — it remains to be seen if public institutions adopt a more thorough multilingual approach.
In order to mitigate the effects of these issues, Voyce and Healthcare IT Leaders are working to offer multilingual contact tracing services. Healthcare IT Leaders offers COVID-19 contact tracing services through a program called Healthy Returns, which provides contact tracing and vaccination services for businesses and schools. Voyce’s network of medical interpreters includes speakers of 238 languages, including American Sign Language.
“Contact tracing is a critical tool to help organizations manage the spread of COVID-19,” said Bob Bailey, the managing principal of Healthcare IT Leaders. “Voyce enables us to conduct meaningful, real-time conversations in multiple languages, greatly enhancing the level of service that we are able to provide.”