(Sight translation by Certified Deaf Interpreter Mistie Owens)
Developing trust with a doctor or provider can take time; the same can be said for the relationship between patients and interpreters. Many hospitals and clinics will contract with a local interpreter agency and/or a video remote interpreting (VRI) provider for language access for their Deaf and LEP patients. While patients can request a preferred interpreter, the interpreter may not be available or perhaps the patient did not have any specific requests. Therefore, patients are often meeting their interpreter for the first time at the hospital or clinic whether on-site or using VRI.
Patients often wonder when meeting a new interpreter whether or not an interpreter has enough experience, training and knowledge to effectively interpret for them, especially when discussing important health matters. It is vital for hospitals and clinics to have systems in place to vet interpreters and interpreter vendors to ensure only the best, most qualified interpreters are working with patients and providers.
Additionally, and equally important, is the quality control and risk management handled by these interpreter providers. It is necessary to have risk management in place to ensure interpreters are working ethically and patients and providers are receiving the most effective language access.
Quality Control and Risk Management at InDemand:
The following three steps are how InDemand carries out risk management for all of their interpreters.
All ASL interpreters at InDemand are:
- Nationally certified by RID
- Are trained in HIPAA requirements
- Participate in limited and on-going workshops on medical interpreting and medical terminology
- Have extensive onsite interpreting experience
All spoken language interpreters at InDemand:
- Have passed medical language evaluations exams with a minimum of advanced level
- Are trained in HIPAA requirements
- Have extensive medical interpreting experience
Once hired, each interpreter participates in ongoing shadowing by experienced, bilingual mentors that regularly evaluate their work for further development and skill enhancement. During the shadowing and professional development mentoring process, areas of improvement are identified and if necessary, further training is provided. The additional training can include call management and customer service skill development to linguistic and cultural development. The training may be informal and addressed directly with the interpreter or a broader training program may be implemented to apply to each of the interpreters. Trainings, accessible to all of our interpreters, are uploaded to a company-wide learning management system for future use.
- Staff management:
The VRI environment lends itself to a higher level of supervision, which opens the door to early intervention with interpreter skill development. On-site agencies may interview and vet interpreters diligently, but they often don’t have the opportunity to supervise interpreters while working. InDemand has a passionate management team that is focused on patient satisfaction and raising the bar for the patient/interpreter experience.
By following this process, InDemand is able to reduce any risk to the patient. It’s important for healthcare providers and hiring entities to select the best interpreters and interpreter providers while also maintaining quality control and risk assessment of the interpreters as they work. Quality language access is critical for Deaf and LEP patients; it allows these individuals the opportunity to be active participants in their health care, thus improving aftercare compliance, without worrying about how to communicate.