Lost in Translation? Not Here

Sead Jusić, ASA VII, delivers an iPad translator to a patient floor.

Good communication is a vital part of patient care. And Albany Med goes to great lengths to ensure that all our patients, including those who have limited English proficiency or are Deaf or hard of hearing, have a clear, open dialogue during their visits to the Medical Center and its off-site locations.

Albany Med offers translation services to patients in more than 150 languages as well as sign language. These services are available around the clock—over video, with the use of an iPad, or two-way telephone. Upon request, in-person translation is also available and includes various spoken languages, American sign language and tactile sign language.

Albany Med collaborates with Language Line Solutions and Northeast Career Planning to provide these services, and the Patient Relations team are the key point people “on the ground” at Albany Med.

“If a patient needs translation, medical staff contact us,” said Nicole McGarry, MHA, assistant director of Patient Relations, “and we are happy to coordinate the appropriate interpretation as well as address any other questions or language needs.” In the off hours, colleagues in Telecommunications field these requests.

“Spanish is our most commonly requested language,” said Sead Jusić, ASA VII, “and we’re noticing that the translator iPads are becoming very popular. A lot gets expressed in an exchange when two people are able to see one another.” Which is not to discount the two-way telephones, he added. “They are very effective. These services are extremely helpful and are often used for family meetings and in cases where consent is needed.”

“I recently brought a translator iPad down to Pediatrics,” he said. “A physician there needed to speak to the mother of a young child who’d had surgery. You could see the calm come over her. The relief that comes with understanding. It was great to behold.”