How to Work with Medical Interpreters More Efficiently

In Blog by Rafael MorelLeave a Comment

Language interpreters help medical professionals do their jobs more efficiently so patients can receive the very best of care. These interpreters ensure that everyone who enters your facility has a way to communicate no matter what language they speak. Most hospitals and other medical facilities are required to have language interpretation services available due to the benefits it provides.

Doctors can make diagnoses that are more accurate and patients are more trusting and compliant when they can communicate with the doctor better. Interpreters have medical knowledge, so they understand the terminology doctors use and that helps to prevent misunderstandings that could have serious consequences. They also have an understanding of the culture associated with the language spoken and that will help doctors to provide more personal and professional care.

Considering the important role these interpreters have in this industry, you need to take steps to ensure all communications go smoothly. The following tips will help you work with medical interpreters more efficiently.

Take Time to Meet with the Medical Interpreter

Before you talk to the patient, take a few minutes to meet with the interpreter and explain what type of information you’ll need to collect from the patient. This is even more important when you need to acquire sensitive information.

The language interpreter will be familiar with the patient’s culture, so they can find ways to ask sensitive questions without offending the patient or their family members. Otherwise, patients will hesitate to answer many of your questions and it may keep you from gathering important information.

Talk to the Patient, Not the Interpreter

While treating the patient, talk directly to them instead of the interpreter or it can get very confusing and take much longer to relay the information. A professional medical interpreter will act as if he is the doctor speaking to the patient and the patient speaking back, so there is no reason to address him individually.

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Keep Your Sentences Short and to the Point

When you keep your sentences short and get straight to the point, it will make is easier for the interpreter to do his job. Interpreting takes a lot of concentration and a good memory. If you get off track or drag things out too long, it can become very exhausting for the interpreter and make the job more difficult.

Even though the interpreter has medical training and understands the terminology you’re using, most patients will not. For this reason, you may need you to repeat the information in different ways until the patient completely understands what is happening.

Watch the patient just like you would someone that speaks the same language as you, so you can look for signs of confusion. If the patient looks confused, then you know you need to repeat the information a different way to explain. You should also speak at a slow pace and allow time for the interpreter to interpret the information and the response.

Knowing how to work with medical interpreters more efficiently will ensure better and more accurate communications between doctors, staff members and patients.

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