Illinois Hospitals Using Video Interpretation Service for Non-English-Speaking Patients
Some Illinois hospitals have begun to use a video system -- the Illinois Video Interpreter Network -- that can provide interpretation services for 150 languages, the Chicago Tribune reports. Interpreters trained in health care terminology and jargon are available by video or telephone 24 hours a day. Patients and doctors can see the interpreter through a portable monitor.
According to the hospitals, the system is cheaper and more efficient than in-person interpreters. The network's interpretation services cost 80 cents per minute, while in-person interpreters often require a two- or three-hour minimum of service and cost about three times as much.
Michael King, director of development for the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, said, "It's clearly a cost-saving technology for hospitals because it helps reduce the whole issue of medical errors. Individual patients who may not have someone available to speak English will not have to resort to the eight-year-old who speaks Cantonese and may not know anything about the condition of his father or mother."
Three Chicago hospitals and one facility in Salem are using the network, while 25 other hospitals are considering joining (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 4/9).