TABLET COMPUTERS PROVIDE INTERPRETATION FOR HOSPITAL'S NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING AND HEARING IMPAIRED PATIENTS
Ensuring that every patient can communicate clearly with his or her caregiver team despite language barriers leads to better, safer care. Technology being employed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital ensures that our non-English speaking and hearing impaired inpatients have easy access to interpretation services.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital Language Services employs more than 30 highly trained interpreters who are available for on-site or telephone interpretation. Staffed languages are based on demographic trends of the St. Louis region and the patient population. Due to the range and complexity of languages encountered (more than 90), Barnes-Jewish Hospital contracts with interpreter service vendors to ensure communication needs of its patients are consistently met.
Through tablet computers mounted on wheeled stands, caregivers and patients now can be visually linked to an interpretation service. The service is staffed by certified interpreters who replicate the services available through the hospital's live interpreters.
"Technology such as telephones and tablet computers allow us to respond rapidly to staff requests when one of our staff interpreters is not available or don't speak a particular language," says Erin Curran, manager of language services. "This new technology provides services when and where they're needed with the same standards we set for live interpretations."
Video kiosks are available in the hospital’s public areas and the emergency department. Patients can also use these computers to make sign-language-assisted phone calls to their families and friends.
“It’s vital for us to provide language services in the hospital when and where it’s needed,” says Curran. “In-person interpretation will always be our first choice. But, since our staff interpreters can’t meet every request, this new technology provides services when and where they’re needed with the same standards we set for in-person interpretations.”