Wilkes Regional Medical Center now has remote video interpreters designed to improve service for patients who are deaf, hard of hearing or have limited English proficiency.
While the hospital still uses in-person interpreters when available, it now has a combination of stationary and mobile video interpreting units from Stratus Video Interpreting in multiple departments.
The new units allow hospital staff to connect via a live, web-based video with medically trained and certified interpreters in over 175 spoken and signed languages in less than 30 seconds.
“Hospitals, doctor’s offices and patient care centers today represent an increasingly diverse mix of ethnicities, cultures and spoken languages,” a press release from WRMC said. “Limited English proficiency patients can create significant challenges for healthcare providers as you work to deliver high quality care to all of your patients. In a healthcare setting, good communication is essential to quality care.”
In the past, WRMC has also used a phone-based interpreting system. But discussing medical information via telephone can present challenges, especially for medications with smiliar-sounding names, the release said.
“Wilkes is growing and becoming a more diverse county and we want to ensure that we provide effective communication to every patient who walks through our doors,” said Sheny Mejia, manager of diveristy and inclusion at WRMC.
Ms. Mejia said that the new interpreters are especially valuable in the emergency room, where the need to gather accurate information from patients quickly is paramount.
Members of the WRMC Hospital Auxilary purchased the new video interpreters with money raised from various fundraising events.
In its effort to assist hospitals in maintaining compliance while also reducing malpractice suits due to interpreting errors, Stratus Video Interpreting upholds the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for protecting sensitive patient data by ensuring essential secruity measures are in place, the release said.
“Good communication is essential to quality patient care and this new technology helps us improve and enhance communication while offering our patients prompt, professional interpreting services any time of the day,” said J. Gene Faile, president and chief operating officer of WRMC.