Healthcare In-Person Interpreting

Medical Interpreter Services Lead to Better Care

March 31, 2016

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A research study done at two Massachusetts pediatric emergency rooms found that when Spanish-speaking families have access to a

professional interpreter, critical errors like wrong medication doses

decrease significantly. But mistakes are twice as likely to happen if the interpreter is a family member, bilingual hospital staff member or other non-professional.

The study, reported in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that using a professional interpreter decreased translation errors (like adding or omitting a word) by 12 percent. Those errors can have major health consequences.

“The findings document that interpreter errors of potential clinical consequence are significantly more likely to occur when there is an ‘ad hoc’ or no interpreter, compared with a professional interpreter,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Glenn Flores of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. (Learn more about the difference between ad hoc and professional interpreters)

But how frequently are professional interpreters needed? Well, consider this: about 25 million people in the U.S. have limited English skills according to The Hartford Courant (4/19/12, page A13).

U.S. law requires that hospitals that receive federal funds must offer interpretation help to patients. Other studies have indicated that professional interpretation improves health care and cuts costs by avoiding unnecessary medical tests, for example.

About Interpreters and Translators, Inc.

iTi’s dedicated and experienced team offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. Do you require translation services to enhance your global marketing and sales initiatives or interpreter services to communicate across languages? We specialize in custom language solutions and work with over 200 languages so regardless of the barrier you face, we will work together in synergy to bridge the gap to ensure success. Please feel free to contact us through a message or by calling 860-362-0812. Our offices are open 24/7/365 so we can respond immediately to your interpreting or translation needs anytime, anywhere.

Last Updated December-12-2016

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