Medical Interpreters Are Invaluable in Modern Society:
Medical interpreters play an invaluable role within our communities, they provide a service that allows limited English proficient (LEP) individuals the ability to understand information in a medical setting, regardless of the language they speak. Having a clear understanding of the facts and information at hand allows LEP patients to make sound decisions regarding their health and the treatment they receive. Medical interpreters have to be highly trained, knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in order to ensure the interpretation is completed with accuracy and precision. Interpretation in regards to healthcare must be exact, clear and can not in any way deviate from the original meaning. Oftentimes professional medical interpreters are not utilized, despite the fact it’s the law and the vast benefits it provides. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities neglect the need which leaves room for poor LEP patient care and medical error to occur.
A Lack in the Utilization of Medical Interpreters Puts LEP Patients at Risk:
Gabriela Jenicek, director of language services at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, recalled an incident regarding a woman who was 8 months pregnant and considered to have an extremely high-risk pregnancy. The clinic who did not provide medical interpreters allowed the woman’s sister-in-law to interpret the information from the doctor. Medical staff told the woman her baby was at risk of heart damage, however, her sister-in-law never managed to interpret the life-changing information to the pregnant woman. After all the preparation for the baby, the decoration of the nursery and the joyful occasion of the baby shower, the woman went into labor. Once arriving at the hospital, Jenicek recalls, “she had to be told the child would not make it, she had no time to prepare.”
Mara Youdelman, managing attorney at the National Health Law Program in Washington, D.C. and who also works on language access issues stated in regards to the provision of medical interpreters, “The reality is, if you can’t communicate with a patient, you can’t provide care, it shouldn’t be an add-on,” she says. “It should be a required part of providing high-quality health care.” Language barriers place a strain on communication, thus leaving room for potentially dangerous outcomes. A single misunderstood word or forgotten piece of information can have major consequences, every interaction in a medical setting must be precise and accurate. Poor interpretation in medical settings can lead to patient harm, additional injury, possible malpractice, loss of life, misdiagnosis, improper treatment, and overall poor patient care. Understanding the consequences that can be faced when language barriers are present puts a greater emphasis on the importance of effective communication between LEP patients and healthcare providers.
Providing Medical Interpreters is the Law:
With the widespread increase in diversity in America, commonly encountered language barriers are preventing medical staff from understanding, communicating and providing quality care to LEP patients. Healthcare workers are witnessing first hand the implications caused by language barriers on a daily basis. In efforts to combat poor patient care caused by language barriers, laws have been passed to protect the rights of LEP and deaf individuals in the United States. Providing medical interpreters is not an option, but a requirement by law under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Section 1557.
If your healthcare facility is in the market for a partnership with a professional language service company (LSC), Niki’s Int’l Ltd. can guide you through the process of incorporating the utilization of medical interpreters into your staff’s daily routines. There are various language services such as on-site interpretation, over-the-phone (OPI) interpretation as well as video remote interpreting (VRI), all available to accommodate the needs of your LEP patients. Contact Niki’s Int’l Ltd. to gain access to professionally trained and experienced medical interpreters available in over 350 languages and dialects. Successfully providing optimal healthcare to LEP patients is not a choice, making the effort to properly communicate, understand and care for LEP patients as well as abide by the law can be accomplished through the provision of interpretation services.
Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.