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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAMC offers new communication services to aid hearing impaired and limited English speakers

The UAMC has expanded its language access program to more efficiently accommodate patients that are hearing impaired or have limited English proficiency.

Through a new partnership with Language Services Associates, University of Arizona Medical Center clinicians will be able to remotely access video of American Sign Language and foreign language interpreters on a laptop computer within minutes of first interacting with the patient.

“There is no delay in trying to find someone to translate,” said Heidi Costello, director of nursing for adult health services. “There are no barriers to provide care.”

UAMC conducted a live demonstration of its Video Remote Interpreting service on Friday.
“We look forward to helping UAMC better meet the needs of its deaf, hard of hearing and non-English speaking patient populations through our full suite of interpretation and translation services,” said Starla Keith, the executive vice president of Language Services Associates.

Language Services Associates offers certified medical interpreters for more than 200 languages and dialects, Patient Care Manager Amy Caster-Winegart said, adding that Tucson’s diversity makes communication in a variety of languages a necessity.

UAMC plans to use its new Video Remote Interpreting service to help facilitate communications across a wide variety of patient care settings throughout University Campus, South Campus and Diamond Children’s, which many speculate will put patients who frequently encounter language barriers at ease.

“It is very easy [for the patients] to use and very easy for them to understand,” Caster-Winegart said. “It really decreases their anxiety.”

The Video Remote Interpreting services will be used for labor and delivery, surgery, post-operative care and the emergency department.

“This is a reliable way to provide that service, whether it be sign language or anything else that we obviously don’t have expertise in,” said Costello. “As an individual this is a tremendous thing. Communication is the most important thing with a physician and patient relationship.”

Language Services Associates has been working with UAMC since last spring on their partnership, said Jim Pastore, the strategic sales manager for Language Services Associates.

“We used to have to rely on family members to interpret,” Caster-Winegart added. “This meant delay in care. This guarantees us accuracy of what is being said. The tone and intent is included in this, too.”

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