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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Telehealth Webinar for Community Based Organizations Series FAQs

Part 2: Promising Practices - Accessibility and Language Access: Questions from the Audience

  1. Is there a platform you have seen that is most effective within the Latino community?

  2. What is the actual need for Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals to lead telemedicine consultations?

  3. Have you found any apps (medical appropriate) that can plug into Zoom to display closed captioning right in the meeting?

  4. Have you had any difficulty signing up patients with IDD for patient portals such as MyChart? If so, how did you mitigate?

  5. How long did it take to deploy the use of tablets for elders? What was the lead time for training and use?

  6. Are devices available for low-income seniors, directly or through O/A? Are there options for free Wi-Fi access for residents or grants for O/A?

  7. How does someone get a tablet from the AARP Foundation? Does AARP provide free tablets?

  8. What have others done for low-income clients dealing with isolation to keep them engaged?



  1. Is there a platform you have seen that is most effective within the Latino community?

I don’t know of platforms that are particularly effective based on race/ethnicity/language nor can we specifically recommend or endorse a particular platform. However, there are some telehealth platforms that integrate language access services as part of their package. Two examples that I am aware of are VITelNet and Cloudbreak.

Telehealth Access for Seniors has developed some easy to understand downloadable Tech Guides in Spanish that may be useful.


  1. What is the actual need for Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals to lead telemedicine consultations?

There is a huge need for Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals to serve as health care interpreters, cultural brokers, and as providers for Spanish speaking patients/clients. Through telehealth it is easier to access bilingual providers. I've not seen a directory of bilingual providers, but it would be an interesting concept if it isn't already out there. One would still need to make sure they are licensed in the state where the patient is located.

ConsejoSano works with providers, health plans, government programs, etc. by provide cultural brokers/navigators for non-native English speakers. It is an interesting concept.

There are a large number of video-based medical interpretation services and training programs. A simple Google search will turn up many of them. Several of the links for medical interpreter organizations and associations are in the slide deck resource list.


  1. Have you found any apps (medical appropriate) that can plug into Zoom to display closed captioning right in the meeting?

There are several companies that offer automatic captioning within Zoom. A few of them are Rev, OtterAI, and Verbit. These apps/companies provide an API token that allows for automatic captioning within Zoom. It’s important to note that this type of captioning uses artificial intelligence for recognition and studies have shown the recognition accuracy is substantially less than traditional CART services.

Paid (not free) Zoom licenses feature closed captioning, which must be enabled. In order for captioning to work you must have a licensed version of Zoom. If you already have a licensed version of Zoom you will need to assign a captioner or copy the API token from your 3rd party CC service. You can find these settings by clicking the “CC” button in the Zoom Toolbar.


  1. Have you had any difficulty signing up patients with IDD for patient portals such as MyChart? If so, how did you mitigate?

Patients with IDD may require some additional assistance with setting up their patient portal profiles. If appropriate, you may ask for assistance from a family member, guardian, or trusted friend. This can be a challenge given the private nature of the information available within patient portals. Depending on the situation, assistive technology (AT) may prove helpful as well. For instance, a text-to-speech application can help some people better understand what information is needed while a speech-to-text application may be useful when entering the required data. It really depends on the individual and their specific needs. For AT resources contact your State AT Act program.


  1.  How long did it take to deploy the use of tablets for elders? What was the lead time for training and use?
It takes approximately 3-4 weeks lead time for training and deployment

  1. Are devices available for low-income seniors, directly or through O/A? Are there options for free Wi-Fi access for residents or grants for O/A?
There are a number of low-cost internet options available to qualifying low-income older adults. Organizations and individuals can search for options available to them by their zip code at everyoneon.org

  1. How does someone get a tablet from the AARP Foundation? Does AARP provide free tablets?
AARP Foundation does not provide free hardware or tablets to organizations or individuals. AARP Foundation works with providers of affordable housing as well other non-profit organizations that serve low-income older adults to help identify what affordable options for technology may be available.

  1. What have others done for low-income clients dealing with isolation to keep them engaged?
Organizations have been using a number a creative and innovative solutions to keep low-income clients engaged. There many opportunities to connect clients with online communities and phone based opportunities to connect. Reach out to your local senior center or area agency on aging to understand what offerings may be available such virtual classes, friendly phone call programs, and support groups. You can host your own virtual events or activities through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype. Well Connected from COVIA is a great resource and free national community made up of participants, staff, facilitators, presenters, and other volunteers who care about each other and who value being connected. All groups are accessible by phone from wherever you are at no cost to individuals.

  • This page last reviewed: October 19, 2020