October 23, 2012
Accessing healthcare can be challenging for patients, and even more so for those who do not speak the language or are hearing impaired. The St. Elizabeth Medical Center Language Assistance Program has begun using Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) for its patients. This is the latest in healthcare communication technology. It is revolutionizing the ways in which healthcare professionals deliver language services. The VRI system uses internet, videoconferencing and equipment to provide interpretation services.
Patients may now be provided with a trained medical interpreter by a click of the mouse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This system is especially useful for patients with hearing impairments. Currently, the community is in short supply of qualified sign language interpreters, especially for emergency situations that demand an interpreter at a moments notice. Hearing impaired patients will no longer need to wait to have their healthcare needs met until an interpreter arrives, sometimes hours later.
This system is currently online at the Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center (FMC) and at the main hospital facility’s Emergency Department. Additionally, the system will be available at the Women’s Health Center and the Children’s Health Center building in Utica. VRI will be available on rotation at other Medical Group offices when needed for patient care.