VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has launched 12 mobile interpretation devices at
its COVID-19 vaccination clinics to offer broader interpretation service options to residents. Within
seconds, the devices connect patients to live, medically trained interpreters who offer virtual services in
over 240 spoken languages.
To date, the mobile devices have facilitated over 18,000 minutes of live interpretation across VCH
COVID-19 vaccination clinics, while the top languages requested 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.
Seventy-four additional devices will be implemented across the VCH region through 2021 to further
support patients on their health care journey.
“Vancouver Coastal Health serves a diverse, multicultural population. 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, said Megan Stowe, executive director of Virtual Health and
Clinical Informatics at VCH. “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. We
look forward to expanding the availability of interpretation devices to communities across the region to
further improve patient experience and health care outcomes.”
A philanthropic donation made to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in 2019 enabled VCH to conduct 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. Use of the
devices were found to positively impact patient engagement with care and health care outcomes.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is responsible for the delivery of $4.1 billion in community, hospital and
long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the
North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also
provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province’s hub of health
care education and research.
Communications Leader, Public Health
Vancouver Coastal Health