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New Resources for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

InterpretiveServicesIn the fall of 2012, Providence St. Peter Foundation awarded over $436,000 in grants to local Providence ministries. One of the grants will help enhance services for patients with limited English, who can be vulnerable as they navigate the health care system, to ensure equal and quality care. Jill Cooper, Vice President of Quality for Providence Southwest Service Area says, “It’s an issue of respect to provide care in a language our patients can understand.” One new device, affectionately referred to as MARTTI (My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter), features an all-in-one design with one-button access to services and a touch screen which is easily cleaned to prevent the spread of germs.

Pictured right: Mandy, Providence St. Peter Emergency Center nurse, connects real-time with an interpreter in preparation for seeing a patient in the Emergency Center. 

Ana Garcia, Interpretive Services Coordinator at Providence St. Peter Hospital, says, “Limited English Proficiency patients are often vulnerable because of a language barrier with their care team.” In fact, research has shown that use of a qualified interpreter increases patient’s health outcomes, perceived understanding of care and satisfaction; may reduce unnecessary tests and procedures, complications and length of stay.

MARTTI is especially helpful for capturing an in-person feel when an interpreter is not available immediately, such as in the Emergency Center, for infrequently spoken languages, or for reading and relaying non-verbal cues.

Thanks to support from generous donors, the Providence St. Peter Foundation donated more than $4,000 to purchase fifteen new interpreter telephones. Unlike MARTTI, these interpretive phones can remain in a patient’s room throughout their stay, which enables access at the patient’s fingertips. Through this new equipment, patients and staff can access over 210 languages in video and audio, including American Sign Language. The equipment allows 24-hour access to highly trained interpreters, available at the touch of a button.

Garcia says, “Effective communication between patient and provider is essential in providing safe, equal, quality care. Providing immediate access to an interpreter is important especially in an emergent situation.”