A video remote interpreting system is helping staff at Elkhart’s Heart City Health Center treat patients in 20 different languages.

With the system, patients in an exam room can communicate with an interpreter and medical staff on a live video feed at the health center.

“[It allows medical staff] to choose from up to 20 languages where we can get a face-to-face interpreter and communicate with the patient in the exam room, and help the physician bridge that gap in communication with the patient,” said Steve Germani at Heart City Health Center.

To operate it, you press a button for an interpreter for a particular language. It calls a certain number and an interpreter appears on the other end.

“Each of the other interpreters that are available are medically certified interpreters. So, they are not just interpreters. They understand medical terminology, they understand the needs the physician is trying to communicate to the patient,” said Germani.

The doctors, dentists and medical staff say the new system has greatly improved the health centers ability to help more patients, especially those from the far corners of the globe and those of different cultures.

“The in-demand system makes a big difference in interacting with patients during their visits. We are able to do video face-to-face, interactions and interviews with the patients about what’s going on in their lives and what’s going on with their health,” said Dr. Martina McGowan.

“This absolutely prepares us for whatever situation that we might find ourselves in, while the vast majority of how it is being used is with Spanish-speaking interpreters, we have seen some Russian, we have seen some Cantonese,” said Germani.

The system not only allows 20 languages with face-to-face interpreters, but another 99 interpreted through audio only.