For Spanish-speaking patients and their families, language and cultural barriers can heighten stress and anxiety when receiving medical care. Bridging these gaps requires access to support services that include a staff fluent in English and Spanish along with the proper tools for interpretation and translation. At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), this unique support service is called CDH LIVE.
CDH LIVE – Center for Distance Health Language Interpretation through Video Exchange – is a Spanish interpretation and translation service that utilizes Telehealth technology to improve communication between patients, families and healthcare professionals.
Lee Kitchen, Program Manager, says, “We in CDH LIVE believe that all people have the human right to understand their health condition and healthcare plan as well as that of their loved ones in a language that they can fully understand. We also defend the legal right that LEP patients have to a trained medical interpreter according to Title VI.”
The program targets Spanish-speaking patients and their families who are considered of Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
Interpreters and translators help to bridge the language and cultural gaps between patients, families and healthcare professionals. To meet needs, interpreters and translators provide verbal interpretations and written translations that are as simple as one page or as complex as an online interactive learning module.
During a consultation, the patient, family and healthcare provider(s) speak directly to each other. The interpreter explains everything that is said between all parties.
To ensure patient privacy, interpreters and translators follow the professional code of ethics, standards of practice and HIPAA policies.
Team member, Veronica Hernandez, states, “Our clinics and patients get first class interpretation services within seconds with the highest standard of practice and professionalism that our profession demands.”
The need to offer interpreter and translation services for Spanish-speaking patients and families was identified through the UAMS ANGELS Call Center and the High-Risk Telemedicine Program for pregnant women. As the need grew, efforts were made to identify ways to better serve this population.
In 2009, a pilot program kicked off in the UAMS University Women’s Clinic. Currently, CDH LIVE provides services for 67 UAMS clinics, call centers and departments along with five non-UAMS facilities. The strength of the program is emphasized in the number of calls handled each month. In 2012, the monthly call average was 337. Today, the monthly call average is over 600.
Kitchen says, “I believe the future of interpreting services is contingent upon the advancement of technology. I believe that video interpreting is the interpreting of today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow’s interpreter services will utilize the most cutting edge technology available to them. In my personal outlook, I can see interpreters utilizing something as advanced as hologram technology tomorrow.”
The CDH LIVE includes three team members: Lee Kitchen, Veronica Hernandez and Diana Johnson. The team works together to take calls and evenly distribute work among all members.
When talking about the CDH LIVE team, Kitchen says, “No doubt, I am part of one of the best interpreter teams in the state. We share a moral fiber of high ethics, character and compassion. We believe in why we do what we do, not just what we do. Every CDH LIVE team member is willing to go the extra mile for each other, for our patients and for our healthcare partners.”
Lee serves as the Program Manager for CDH LIVE and has been an interpreter at UAMS for seven years. He holds undergraduate degrees in Spanish and International Business and a master’s degree in Organizational Management. Lee has completed 40 hours of Medical Interpreter training and has studied in Mexico.
Veronica is a native Spanish speaker from Panama. She holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Human Resources. Veronica has served as an interpreter at UAMS for four years and as a volunteer Spanish interpreter for low income Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients in the Little Rock area for six years. Veronica has completed 40 hours of Medical Interpreter training and handles document translation.
Diana is a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico. She holds an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education of English as a Second Language and a master’s degree in Theological Studies. She has taught Spanish at the high school and college levels in the US and overseas. Diana has four years of interpreting experience.
Team member, Veronica Hernandez, states it best, “CDH LIVE Interpreters, don’t know barriers, we have bridged the gap in language and cultural communication in the state of Arkansas and we are the state’s only interpreter program of our kind.
We are very proud of our program, and we keep looking for ways to innovate and facilitate communication. We are CDH LIVE Interpreters, and we are here to serve you.”