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March 27, 2015

More hospitals turn to video for translation services

Daily Briefing

A growing number of hospitals are launching video translation services in an effort to improve care for non-English speaking patients, the Journal News reports.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 60.6 million U.S. residents in 2011 spoke a language other than English in their home.

Lost in translation: Why hospitals need professional interpreters

At Fort Hamilton Hospital in Ohio, Spanish is the most common non-English language among patients, according to CMO Marcus Romanello. So the facility has a certified interpreter on staff, as well as several bilingual doctors. But for weekend and off hours, the hospital has long used a third-party phone service.

Starting next month, Fort Hamilton Hospital will use My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter (MARTTI)—a web-based video conference system—for those times when the interpreter is off the clock or does not speak the patient's language. "It can translate the vast majority of languages," Romanello notes.

Similarly, West Chester Hospital has been using a web system for interpretation since November. Staff uses iPads at patients' bedsides to access LanguageLine Solutions, which offers access to certified translators in over 10 languages.

Rosemary Bake, West Chester's interpretive services coordinator, says the iPads were used just seven times in their first month. Now, they are used more than 115 times per month. She says the hospital is now purchasing more iPads for its outpatient clinics (Poturalski, Journal News, 3/21).

The takeaway: Seeking to meet the needs of more than 60 million U.S. residents who speak a non-English language at home, more hospitals are turning to video-based translation services.

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