Understanding each other is important no matter the context. However, in the context of medical practices and hospitals, it’s hard to deny that this is one of the most critical times for there not to be communication problems. That’s part of why medical interpreters have become such a popular service in the past few years.
As you can see here: https://www.aha.org/workforce-strategies/diversity-equity-inclusion, there has been in increase in diversity both in the staff at hospitals as well as in the patients. While the staff diversity is a great step in the right direction, inevitably there will be some patients who have a difficulty speaking English proficiently, but no one around is able to communicate with them in their native language.
In these situations, an interpreter can be key to getting them the care that they need. If you’re not exactly sure what interpreters can do, as well as how their services work, then this is the article for you. Stick around to learn more about the entire process.
What are Medical Interpreters?
Put simply, medical interpreters are professionally trained in at least two (but often several more) languages that they can speak fluently. They are able to translate medical terms specifically, which can sometimes be difficult for other services. They serve as a sort of mediator between two parties that can’t speak the same language.
How Does this Process Work?
To an extent, it will largely depend on the specific medical interpreter company that you’re working with. We’ll do our best to explain it on a general level, though. More often than not, you’ll be utilizing a website or phone app to access the company’s services.
Usually, you’ll have to answer a few basic questions such as what language you need assistance with and how urgent the matter is. Then, you’ll be connected with a professional interpreter that is able to help you and your patient out with these important situations. Just keep in mind that there are also options if you don’t necessarily know the language in question.
As far as payments are concerned, the price is generally calculated based on how many minutes the phone call ends up. Some companies will ask for a pre-payment while others will collect a payment after or send an invoice. Most of the time, with medical interpreter services, the whole hospital will be aware of which one your system works with.
Therefore, payment may not be something to stress out over. Something else to remember is that you may have to provide some information to the interpreter in regard to the patient or to any care that has already been given. This can seem alarming, but it is to ensure that everything is handled accurately and with as much tact as possible.
Are These Services Safe to Use?
One of the biggest concerns that many medical professionals have is that the privacy of their patients won’t be respected if an interpreter is brought into the mix. Thankfully, though, this really isn’t the case. Any good interpreting company will place high emphasis on retaining confidentiality and privacy.
They will only ask questions or share information that is necessary for the health, safety, and wellbeing of the patient. You don’t have to stress out about privacy and safety, as you can see on this page.
Are They Reliable?
Part of the benefits of utilizing a medical interpreter company is that they are typically open almost all hours of the day, if not twenty-four-seven. With that said, usually any requests can be processed within minutes, and hopefully faster. In that sense, it’s hard to argue that they’re not reliable.
The fact that the interpreting services can be offered over phone call or over a video streaming service akin to Skype or Zoom is another point in their favor. Let’s face it, sometimes a phone call just doesn’t suffice. Face to face conversations, even over a video conference, can help significantly with coming to an understanding.
You can ask your patients what they prefer, or take whatever is available faster – either way, you’ll be able to conclude the session quickly and efficiently. Because they’re ready whenever you need them to be, it’s undeniable that they’re a reliable service to lean on.
This also brings us to our final point: are they really worth utilizing? After all, they are an expense that may not seem worthwhile at first glance. However, considering how they can bridge gaps between health care professionals and their patients, it’s easy to say that they’re worth it.
Our world is becoming an increasingly diverse one. Having a medical interpreter who can help can bring us together and ensure that each patient who comes to receive care gets it equitably and with just as much quality. This is an incredibly valuable service to have around.