Sunday, January 22, 2006

Video language-interpretation service

From the Stockton (CA) Record:

A first-of-its-kind video language-interpretation service in place at San Joaquin General Hospital since October is on the verge of being rolled out to two other public hospitals in Northern California.

The Health Care Interpreter Network's ultimate goal is to establish a nationwide standard for providing cost-efficient, accurate and immediate translation between the patient and health-care provider - wherever they might be.

The difference between the new network launched at San Joaquin General and videoconferencing and telephone-based translation services in other hospitals is its regional scope, ease of use and the technology pulling it all together.

It also costs less than commercial services now available, according to project officials.

"It's a pretty new type of solution," said Cisco Systems' Jacqueline Pigliucci, whose company's unique software is at the heart of the network.

The call center at the county's public hospital is connected to the participating hospitals by a secure high-speed data line dedicated to video and voice interpretation services.

Interpreters employed by San Joaquin General speak Spanish, Cambodian, Lao and Hmong. When a non-English-speaking patient comes into one of the hospital's units, such as the emergency department or one of several medical clinics, the doctor, nurse or even the admitting clerk attending to that patient turns on the video unit and in 15 seconds connects with a live interpreter.


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