Implementing a Remote Interpreter Service Mobile Phone Application Among Advanced Practice Providers, Physicians, and Nursing Staff in the Pediatric Hospital Setting

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Getzfrid, Whitney
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Linguistic barriers between patients and health care professionals threaten health equity and the goal of providing quality, patient-centered care. Federal policies and health care standards establish a legal obligation to provide interpreter services to limited English proficiency (LEP) patients/families. However, time constraints in the health care setting and limited access to professional interpreter services have led to a cycle of broken dialogue and inadequate communication leading to health care disparities among the LEP population in the hospital setting. The current modes of interpretive services at a Midwestern pediatric hospital are limited to one in-person Spanish speaking interpreter, two mobile tablets, and one telephone service per inpatient medical-surgical floor that offers access to hundreds of languages. These services are often cumbersome to initiate and are shared among the unit which have contributed greatly to their limited accessibility and underutilization. A professional interpreter service application was downloaded on the mobile work phones of health care staff to provide an additional mode of service on the unit. Total communication encounters between health care staff and patients of LEP status increased by a total of 85% between 2019 and 2020 during the months of September through November between all modes of interpreter service available on the unit, despite the census of patient days of LEP status patients decreasing by 32%. Post survey results showed that 95% of 20 survey respondents used audio mode when using the Cyracom app. Increasing health care staff access to professional interpreter services results in an increase in communication encounters with patients/families of LEP status. The Cyracom app was able to be used as an additional means of accessing professional interpreter services which aided in decreasing barriers associated with utilizing professional interpreter services.|Keywords: limited English proficiency (LEP), interpreter services, mobile phone application, limited access, increase access, health care professionals
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