In any industry that works across international boundaries, communication is of the utmost importance. Nowhere is this truer than within the healthcare industry. Linguistic barriers abound in patient relations among hospitals and healthcare providers, putting particular importance on the value of medical interpreters. In a country as diverse as the United States, it’s particularly valuable to have medical interpreters available to accommodate patients who are limited English-proficient (LEP). Without clear communication, the patient is unlikely to receive the care he or she needs. Here are a few ways healthcare providers can benefit from working with interpreting agencies.
The Value of Professional Interpreters
If you work in a hospital or a clinic where Spanish is commonly spoken, you might be tempted to rely on the services of a coworker or someone else who is fluent in Spanish. However, it’s important to keep in mind that healthcare terminology doesn’t necessarily translate as seamlessly as we’d like. Ad hoc interpreters will commonly omit words that carry a significance that they don’t appreciate, or add words in an effort to clarify, when in fact, they’re only giving inaccurate information. Professional medical interpreters, on the other hand, aren’t merely fluent in the required language; they understand the importance of passing the information along within a medical context. The chances of there being a misunderstanding are far reduced when you’re working with an expert trained to avoid such pitfalls.
A More Comfortable Experience
Just as a doctor must be trained in bedside manner to help ease the patient during a very stressful experience, medical interpreters are also valuable in providing patients with a more comfortable stay. If you’re an LEP patient, a visit to a hospital or a clinic will be significantly more stressful if there’s no one there who speaks your language. By having an interpreter on hand—or by making one available either by phone or on video—the patient is immediately reassured that their needs are being met and put at ease by receiving the information they need to make the right decisions.
The purpose of a medical interpreter isn’t just to impart information to the patient. It’s also imperative to allow the patient to express their concerns and to make themselves heard to doctors and nurses. The LEP patient might have questions about a procedure that you can’t answer via an ad hoc interpreter. A professional medical interpreter, on the other hand, is just as valuable to the staff of a hospital as the patient because they can relay questions from the patient in a manner that makes more sense to medical professionals than someone who’s merely bilingual. Interpreters made available via telephone or video help smooth the communication process in both directions so the patient can better understand the provider’s intentions, and the healthcare professionals can better attend to the needs of the LEP patient.
If you require the skills of a professional healthcare interpreter, contact Tembua, Inc. They have a staff of interpreters available who are trained in the specific language of healthcare. Whether you require an interpreter to fulfill a particular need or expect to call upon them regularly, having Tembua, Inc. on your side can make a world of difference. Give them a call at 952-435-8178 or you can also visit their website at tembua.com.