Interpreter Services Breaks Barriers between Patients and Medical Providers
Visiting a hospital or doctor’s office can be stressful. But imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t communicate with your physician or nurse.
Being ill and not being able to explain your symptoms can make your experience intimidating and unpleasant. It also makes it nearly impossible for your health care provider to diagnose and treat your ailments.
The Interpreter Services Department at Columbus Community Hospital exists to prevent this from happening to area patients.
“We have people from all cultures here,” said Theresa Hilton, director of Outreach Services at Columbus Community Hospital. “According to recent figures, the Hispanic Latino population in Colfax County is more than 43 percent. Platte County’s is almost 17 percent. These are two of our primary service areas.”
Interpreter Services began in 2002 when the hospital moved to its current location.
CCH was the first hospital in the region to set up a dedicated Medical Interpreter Department.
Many of the original employees are still working there. The hospital currently has 10 dedicated medical interpreters who are breaking the language barrier between patients and their medical providers. Our interpreters help as many as 1,000 patients each month.
From emergency situations to scheduled procedures, they offer various services at the hospital, the Visiting Physicians Clinic and other private clinics in the area.
Dr. Nick Wulf is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Columbus Women’s Healthcare, PC. According to Wulf, 20-30 percent of the patients who visit the clinic do not speak English. Because of this, Wulf says he utilizes Interpreter Services on a daily basis.
“A price cannot be put on our interpreters,” Wulf explained. “They have a lot of rapport with patients. In my line of service, having a real, breathing person present makes all the difference in how care is delivered.”
He receives help from interpreters when his patients are admitted to the hospital, as well.
They help to translate medical forms, break down complex instructions and ensure patients understand the paperwork that goes along with their stay.
“They also have insight into the community and can clear up any misconceptions about the hospital,” Wulf said.
In addition to our medical interpreters, the Interpreter Services Department offers on-demand interpreting through an electronic device called My Assessable Real Time Trusted Interpreter (MARTTI). At the push of a button, MARTTI gives providers and patients access to more than 250 languages. Nearly 60 of these languages are available in live video and audio.
On average, MARTTI is used to interpret 12-19 languages each month. The most frequently used languages are Spanish, Somali, American Sign Language, Samoan and Vietnamese. MARTTI has also been utilized to translate Swahili, Mandarin, Cantonese and Cambodian, among others.
“MARTTI is an invaluable tool that allows our patients to begin receiving care right away,” Hilton said. “The overarching goal is for the hospital to meet everybody in their primary language and provide access to our services in a way everybody can understand. MARTTI helps us do that.”
For more information about Interpreter Services, please call 402-562-4489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.