Friday, April 23, 2010

Geoff delivers for the interpreters

More from our interpreter service group. A really nice note from Stephanie Baumeister, the group's coordinator, about Geoff O'Hara, one of our systems specialists. Translation of some terms: CCC is our electronic medical records and scheduling system. "Non-staff languages" means foreign languages where we rely on per diem help for interpreters because there is not enough demand to have people on payroll. Shari is our head of interpreter services.

Good morning, Paul!

I just wanted to let you know about the great work that Geoff O’Hara did for us. Because non-staff languages do not have their own CCC schedule where appointments for patients who need an interpreter can automatically be booked with their healthcare provider (which is the case for staff language interpreters), we used to have to rely on schedulers to notify me in order for me to arrange for an interpreter to be present. There had to be a better way. Shari and Geoff talked, and Geoff came up with a brilliant program. He worked very hard for an entire week until we were all happy with the results. Now, whenever a non-staff language appointment is booked, rescheduled or cancelled, CCC sends me an automated email to notify me. Not only that, but it is sent in the scheduler’s name, so that I can just “reply” to sender to easily communicate with the scheduler. Since the new system was implemented in September, we have caught, on average, another 100 appointments a month (projecting about a 1500 appointment increase for FY2010) that without this enhancement might have slipped past us. It has also helped us to educate the staff about the Medical Center’s policy of having a professional interpreter present for appointments instead of family and friends, which was the cause of some of the lack of notification. My mailbox is stuffed now, but the patients and providers are getting the help they need.

Here is what the emails look like. See how Geoff added location for my benefit? My interpreters appreciate that!

An appointment for a patient requiring interpreter services has been scheduled.

Patient: XXX,XXX (MR # XXXXXXX) Language: *BULGARIAN

10/15/10 | 9:00 AM | GERONTOLOGY LMOB (SB) | GERONTOLOGY,GANGAVATI LM Lowry Bldg (110 Francis St) | 1st Floor

***

An appointment for a patient requiring interpreter services has been changed.

Patient: XXX,XXX (MR # XXXXXXX) Language: *ARMENIAN

From:

05/25/10 | 5:15 PM | GI WEST OFFICE (SB) | FALCHUK,KENNETH R.

LM LOWRY BUILDING | 8th Floor

To:

05/21/10 | 2:45 PM | GI WEST OFFICE (SB) | FALCHUK,KENNETH R.

LM LOWRY BUILDING | 8th Floor

***

An appointment for a patient requiring interpreter services has been cancelled.

Patient: XXX,XXX (MR # XXXXXXX) Language: *ARMENIAN

04/16/10 | 1:45 PM | PHYSICAL THERAPY -SHAPIRO CC2 | HARRIER,DARLENE SC Shapiro Clinical Ctr | 2nd Floor

3 comments:

KERaven said...

Paul,
I have to say that the ready availability of interpreters is one of the awesome parts of practicing medicine at BIDMC. I am forever indebted to them, and to the hospital for providing a way to communicate with our patients.

Derrick said...

Paul,

Just wanted to let you know that here in Chicago, we're adopting a video interpreter network that would allow individuals to directly connect with an interpreter (somewhere in the US, based on language) via dedicated lines. One hospital has already implemented with tremendous results in terms of patient/physician satisfaction, efficiency, and cost reduction overall. It's a great program, and works for sign language as well! Something to consider...

Shari said...

Dear “KERaven”
It really warms my heart to hear we are providing our clinicians with the communication you all need to do the wonderful work that you do to heal. While nothing is perfect, it’s so satisfying to hear how the interpreter staff and their work is appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to post this. Shari Gold-Gomez

Dear Derrick:
I thank you for your post and having been following this video network concept, and actually hope to check it out. At BIDMC more than 10 years ago, we developed our own in-house video conferencing unit, and were one of the first hospitals to have and pilot in- house video conferencing with our own interpreter staff as a way to improve efficiency, reduce travel & wait time, etc. The application of video conferencing for interpreters has really taken off since we starting piloting this concept. While we still use video conferencing with our in house interpreters for our off site Pain Management Center, and the Emergengy Department,there is room to grown and flourish. Thanks for your post! Shari Gold-Gomez sgomez@bidmc.harvard.edu