In the medical field, we see a wide variety of patients each and every day. The hustle and bustle of hospitals can be quite stressful, too, to put it lightly. Even in smaller, local offices, there’s a good chance that we’ll meet a diverse group of people that need our help.
Unfortunately, this can lead to some situations that are hard to navigate. When people don’t understand each other fully, it’s difficult to get a sense for what they need. Coupled with medical emergencies, this can be downright dangerous.
How can we remedy these sorts of circumstances, though? You can find some answers to that here, but we’ll be going into depth about medical interpreters and how important they are. Keep reading to learn more about them!
What are Medical Interpreters?
When you think about entering the field of healthcare, it may at first seem like the only options are becoming a doctor, nurse, or other aide in a hospital setting. This isn’t the case, though! There are plenty of other positions within these systems, and one of them is that of a medical interpreter.
What does that entail, then? Well, in modern healthcare systems, often there is a focus on what is known as patient-centered care. Learn more about it on this page, but the gist of it is that the focus is on the symptoms of the patient rather than just getting a diagnosis.
We’ll get into how important that can be in the next section, but for now, just know that medical interpreters are trained in the specialized terminology that’s necessary to work in the field. They’re able to help get doctors and patients on the same page in the treatment room.
The nice thing about it is that you don’t have to have them there in person for them to be effective, either. They can be accessed via phone or video call, which is quite convenient. You just need to know how to find those types of services – they can be accessed online from pretty much anywhere you get internet reception.
What Makes them so Important?
When we’re taking a patient-centered approach to healthcare, what are the important facets? Empathy, understanding, and inclusivity are the big ones. If we don’t understand cultural nuances or certain words in one language, it can be quite difficult to offer an atmosphere that is inclusive and empathetic to a full extent.
That’s why it can be such a big deal to have an interpreter there, whether they’re meeting face-to-face with a patient and medical staff or if they’re called over the phone or at a video conference. As demographics shift across the United States and the world, not having access to these services becomes a bigger pain point for many healthcare practices and offices.
Now, if you’re wondering “how does medical interpreting work,” that falls into this section as well. The interpreter will be bilingual at the least but may also be multilingual. They follow strict codes of ethics, meaning that any privacy concerns will be respected and upheld.
If you’re using remote services, you will likely first need to select the language that you need help with. While hospitals are required to have some interpreters available on hand by laws in most states, there are still going to be languages and dialects that require additional support. Spanish is an excellent example of that, considering how many regional dialects there are.
Being able to provide same language care is a critical part of ensuring that our medical offices are creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds. It’s also necessary to provide precise and accurate treatment plans, considering how difficult it is to figure out what patient symptoms are if we cannot understand them (or if they cannot understand us).
Offering that sort of care also helps patients to feel much more comfortable. Visiting the doctor can be scary, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of any opportunities we have to lessen that anxiety. This is a great way to do so.
The Bottom Line?
If you haven’t already started to consider utilizing medical interpreter services, then we hope this article has helped you to understand why they’re such a big deal. Although it can be difficult to implement changes like this on a wide scale, especially in a medical organization, the effort is well worth it.
After all, improving the care that we provide is always on the docket. Same language care, whether through an interpreter or offered directly, is a vital part of doing so. There are few things that can help a patient to feel relaxed, comfortable, and like they can trust their medical professionals more than these sorts of experiences.