On-site interpreters are available to interpret in 10 different languages, and SFGH has on-call access to interpreters of another 35 languages. In addition, the hospital provides medical interpretation through videoconference calls. Videoconference Medical Interpretation (VMI) saves both time and money, primarily by reducing prolonged waiting times for patients, doctors, medical staff, and interpreters. And the near-instant service VMI provides can make all the difference in the clinical settings where seconds count.
Just as important is the quality of service VMI helps render. Reading a patientÕs body language is an important part of interpreting, and the video camera provides the interpreter with that benefit. At the same time, patients can see the interpreter they may already know and trust on a video monitor. The GeneralÕs VMI services are connected to OaklandÕs Highland Hospital, thereby enabling both medical centers to share interpreter services. For example, if Highland Hospital doesnÕt have an Arabic interpreter we could provide them with access to ours at SFGH. At the same time, we could use their Cambodian interpreter when the need arises.
Regardless of whether the interpreters are on-site, available by telephone, or connected through VMI, they help ensure efficient and accurate diagnoses. Department interpreters are fully trained, not just in interpreting languages, but in cultural brokering and medical terminology and are sensitive to the patients.
The use of VMI technology by SFGH Interpreter Services has been
recognized as a model for other healthcare providers locally and