New Translation Service Breaks Language Barrier

Vol. 17, No. 1
Winter 2006/2007

  • Advanced Cardiology Techniques Enhance & Expand Treatment Options at Winthrop's Institute for Heart Care

  • Winthrop Elects New Members to Board of Directors

  • Scientific Research is Basic to Winthrop's Mission

  • Weight Management Program Takes Aim at Obesity

  • New Translation Service Breaks Language Barrier

  • Jay's World Foundation Dedicates Fifth Room in Cancer Center Unit

  • Winthrop's Lung Cancer Center: Cutting-Edge, Compassionate & Comprehensive Care

  • Winthrop's Home Health Agency Among Nation's Elite

  • Winthrop's MS Treatment Center Continues to Elevate Standard of Care & Research

  • New Pre-Diabetes Intervention Program Takes Flight at Winthrop

  • Organ Donor Network Medal of Honor

  • McCormack Fund Shows Support for Cardiopulmonary Stress Lab

  • A True Champion

  • Bay's Big Bash

  • The Franceschini Family Supports Colon Cancer Research

  • Evening of Tasting and Giving

  • Lippert Family Dinner Dance Raises $35,000 for Cancer Center for Kids

  • Residency Programs Get the Nod

  • Truckloads of Toys

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  • The situation was life threatening, time was running out, and the patient in the Emergency Department (ED) could speak only Greek. It's hard to imagine how isolated and frightened she must have felt, and how frustrating it must have been for her caregivers to be hampered by a language barrier.

    "We tried to communicate with the patient and her family," explained Gerald Brody, MD, Chairman of Winthrop's Ambulatory Care Department, "but it quickly became clear that we needed the help of a translator, and we needed it immediately."

    Enter the CyraCom system -- a special, dual-handset phone that enables live, effective communication between healthcare providers and patients with the assistance of a trained medical interpreter. Offering more than 150 languages from Albanian to Zulu, and available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, CyraCom interpreters -- with language skills and sensitivity to cultural differences -- help break the language barrier between caregivers and patients.

    Within 30 seconds of dialing the system's toll-free number, Dr. Brody was speaking with a Greek translator, who helped the ED team obtain vital information about the patient that allowed them to provide appropriate treatment without delay. "Not only were we able to help her," Dr. Brody explained, "but the family was extremely pleased with the effort we made to communicate effectively."

    Lack of understanding can have serious consequences for patients. "For example, explaining the proper dosage of medication can be challenging even to English-speaking patients; a language barrier makes it even more difficult," explained Jean Zebroski, Winthrop's Director of Patient Relations. "Patients become embarrassed, confused and intimidated. Often they are reluctant to ask questions or ask for help."

    With CyraCom, all parties are on the line almost instantly, and the physician and patient are directly across from each other. This allows the doctor to read the patient's body language and facial expressions and keep the conversation confidential; the patient becomes more comfortable, confident and relaxed.

    Winthrop currently has 63 CyraCom phones -- on all patient care units and at offsite facilities. Each has a PIN that identifies the phone, tracks its location and determines usage. CyraCom calls may also be made from a conventional desk phone.

    "Doctors can't be expected to provide the best treatment if they can't communicate effectively with their patients," said Dr. Brody, "and patients can't be expected to follow instructions given in a foreign language. Optimal communication improves patient satisfaction, results in better outcomes and provides for greater patient safety."

    For more information about Winthrop's CyraCom system call (516) 663-8381.

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