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Polycom and CyraCom Help Healthcare Providers Reduce Costs and Improve Compliance

VIDEO-BASED SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION MAKES IT EASY AND COST-EFFECTIVE FOR PROVIDERS TO COMMUNICATE WITH DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PATIENTS

TUCSON, Ariz., and PLEASANTON, Calif. – Oct. 21, 2009 – An innovative new service powered by solutions from Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions, is helping healthcare providers better serve deaf and hard of hearing patients.

The sign language interpretation service is provided by CyraCom, a leader in interpretation and translation solutions for healthcare. Leveraging Polycom video solutions, CyraCom enables hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities to gain 24-hour remote access to nationally certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who specialize in healthcare communication.

The service offers a cost-effective way for healthcare facilities to fulfill patient access requirements under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and addresses the challenge for providers to offer local certified ASL interpreters 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As budgets tighten, logistical limitations have been aggravated by economic concerns. “Because hospitals are required to offer interpretation services, it’s not unusual for on-site interpreters in ERs to be paid for up to eight hours, even if they only interpret for a total of 30 minutes,” said SueAnne McCreery, ASL coordinator at CyraCom.

CyraCom solves these problems by offering healthcare providers just-in-time access to a pool of nationally certified ASL interpreters located throughout the United States. “We only charge for the time our customers spend with interpreters,” said Stephen McNeil, CyraCom’s associate vice president of sales. For a five-minute ER intake session, for instance, providers pay for just five minutes of an interpreter’s time – far less than the typical two-hour minimum charged by contracted interpreters or a staff interpreter’s complete shift, and less than the time it would take an on-call local interpreter to drive into the facility.

“On average, we are paying an ASL interpreter up to four or five hours per patient each time we need one,” said Melissa Moreno, who manages the Emergency Department at Tucson Medical Center which, like all hospitals, is required by law to provide interpreters to deaf patients who communicate using American Sign Language. “For a CyraCom interpreter, we pay only for the time we use – no more than 45 minutes to an hour per patient, though most of the time it’s quite a bit less.”

CHOOSING POLYCOM FOR QUALITY SIGHT AND SOUND

Sign language interpretation requires both sight and sound, so providers must have access to solutions that dependably enable both. After evaluating several competing solutions, CyraCom chose to build its service around standards-based Polycom systems, which offered the reliability, quality of experience, and flexibility required for use in healthcare environments.

As a certified Polycom reseller, CyraCom offers a variety of Polycom solutions through purchase or lease. These include a cart-based solution CyraCom designed especially for use in healthcare facilities, a mobile, lift-and-pivot unit incorporating a Polycom® HDX 7000™ series system with a flat-panel display and camera. The cart allows the flat screen to swivel and the camera to rotate to accommodate bedside ASL interpretation.

ASL interpretation can be required at any point in the healthcare process, from initial intake and triage to consultation with doctors and nurses. In this environment, accuracy counts. “The quality of video is essential,” said McCreery. “ASL is very complex in its formation and there is a lot of grammatical information on the face of the person signing. A slight nuance in facial expression might change the entire communication. So the video quality has to be good enough to meet that demand.”

CyraCom’s ASL interpreters use the Polycom HDX 4000 series system so that they can transmit their sign language interpretations in high quality. In addition, Polycom’s Lost Packet Recovery™ (LPR™) technology helps healthcare providers achieve a consistently high-quality video experience even over public broadband networks susceptible to packet loss and congestion.

CyraCom also uses a Polycom video conference bridge that enables customer service representatives to quickly and easily connect clients with interpreters. In fact, CyraCom guarantees it will connect providers with an ASL interpreter within 15 minutes of the provider’s initial request.

“The service and video environment have definitely been very well received,” said McNeil.

SHARPENING A COMPETITIVE EDGE

For CyraCom, adding ASL interpretation means the company can offer more services to existing customers. “It’s a competitive advantage for us,” said McNeil. “Polycom is helping us build and maintain loyal customer relationships.”

And for healthcare providers trying to contain costs while still meeting ADA and Section 504 requirements, a video call to CyraCom is nothing short of a lifeline.

“We save them a lot of money, and we provide healthcare professionals with the peace of mind that they are getting someone who is trained to handle healthcare related calls,” said McNeil. “With Polycom’s exceptional video quality and our staff of nationally certified ASL interpreters, our customers and their patients get the assurance of complete and accurate interpretation.”

ABOUT CYRACOM

CyraCom is the leading provider of innovative language solutions for healthcare including Over-the-Phone Interpretation, Video Interpretation, Translation and Localization, and Assessment and Training. CyraCom’s language services contribute to:

  • Improved patient flow for patients with limited English proficiency
  • Improved quality patient care and better health outcomes
  • Meaningful access to health services and improved patient satisfaction
  • Compliance with federal & state regulations

CyraCom’s interpretation and translation solutions are exclusively endorsed by the American Hospital Association. For more information, visit www.cyracom.com or contact us at (800) 713-4950 ext. 1.

ABUT POLYCOM

Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Visit www.polycom.com for more information and follow us on Twitter @AllAboutPolycom.

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