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Interpretation at the touch of a button


In the photo: A nurse at the Kwantlen vaccine clinic in Richmond uses the mobile interpreter device to support a patient through her COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Thanks to mobile interpretation devices at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) COVID-19 vaccination clinics, clients have access to instant language supports during their immunization appointments. The 12 devices deployed at clinics around the region offer the opportunity to connect clients live to medically trained interpreters who deliver virtual services in more than 240 spoken languages, within seconds.

“Vancouver Coastal Health serves a diverse, multicultural population," said Megan Stowe, Executive Director of Virtual Health and Clinical Informatics. “It is our responsibility to ensure patients and clients can easily engage with their health care provider and access the information they need regarding their treatment and care."

To date, the mobile devices have facilitated more than 18,000 minutes of live interpretation across all VCH COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The top requested languages include Cantonese (42 per cent), Mandarin (39 per cent), Vietnamese (4 per cent), Farsi and Korean (3 per cent).

This service augments in-person translation support offered by multilingual VCH staff members, community partners and volunteers who work across all vaccination clinics, in addition to formal in-person and pre-scheduled virtual interpretation services, as well as on-demand phone interpreting services offered by Provincial Language Services through the Provincial Health Services Authority.

“While the pandemic has presented significant challenges to the health-care system, it also pushed us to innovate, as we rapidly responded to our communities' evolving needs," Megan said. “We look forward to expanding the availability of interpretation devices to communities across the region to further improve patient experience and health-care outcomes."

Seventy-four additional devices will be implemented across the VCH region through 2021 to further support patients on their health-care journey.

A philanthropic donation made to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in 2019 enabled VCH to launch a pilot project of the mobile interpretation devices across multiple acute and community care sites in the Vancouver region. Donations from Richmond Hospital Foundation and Lions Gate Hospital Foundation also funded local pilots, enabling 18 sites to collect data to inform a regional best practice.

SOURCE: Interpretation at the touch of a button ( )
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