St. John’s Regional Medical Center Testing Telephone Interpretation Service
To help staff better communicate with patients speaking foreign languages, St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard is testing DiaLingual, an interpretation service that provides hospital staff with access to more than 150 languages through the telephone, the Ventura County Star reports. Although the hospital employs a Spanish-speaking interpreter during daytime hours, the increasing number of non-English speaking patients, including those who speak Chinese, Tagalog (a Filipino language) and Mixteco (a Mexican indigenous dialect) has prompted hospital officials to try the 24-hour service. To operate DiaLingual, hospital employees call the service's Tucson, Ariz.-based call center using a special phone, called CyraPhone. The center connects the hospital employee with interpreters of the desired language, who are on-call throughout the country. "Spanish -- you'll get an interpreter like in 15 seconds. Languages such as Greek take a lot longer," Tim Fitzgibbon, a DiaLingual account services consultant, said. Once DiaLingual has connected the hospital worker to the interpreter, the patient uses a second receiver on the CyraPhone to speak directly to the interpreter, who then translates back to the hospital worker. St. John's Regional, the "first to use CyraPhone in Ventura County," is sampling the service on a 60-day trial basis for $2.60 per minute. Once the trial is complete, the hospital will decide whether to purchase the system. St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo also plans to use the DiaLingual system (Marquez, Ventura County Star, 7/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.