BRIDGING THE COMMUNICATION GAP Good communication between patient and provider is a critical piece of good healthcare. Without it, patients might leave the hospital or clinic confused about how to take their medications, how to follow dietary restrictions or when they should call the nurse about complications. The fact that many of our patients are more comfortable speaking a language other than English can create challenges. U.S. Census data shows that 43 percent of Bexar County residents speak a language other than English, compared to 34 percent across the state. University Health System has a number of ways to bridge this communication gap - including training our own bilingual staff as qualified medical interpreters. Since 2012, some 424 bilingual staff members have taken a 40-hour course in medical interpretation and have been assessed as qualified through testing. The program has been partly funded through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, part of the Texas 1115 Medicaid waiver designed to expand access and improve the quality of medical care throughout the state. "We're very fortunate to have a lot of bilingual staff," said Jacque Burandt, executive director of the Center for Learning Excellence, which operates the program. 'We have this great talent pool. They just needed that extra skill of knowing how to be a medical interpreter to pair with their own language skills." Ms. Burandt was honored with the Texas Star in Language Access Award from the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators in September. University Health System also provides professional interpreters - both in person and through audio-visual links - using vendors. But having staff on hand who can step in immediately when needed is invaluable - and saves money. Trained staff members continue in their regular jobs and can earn stipends if they provide a certain number of documented interpretive services and complete three hours of continuing education each year. Among the program's documented successes are improved patient satisfaction survey scores, particularly patients who say that staff communicated with them well regarding their medications.
2016 See How We See Annual Report
To see the actual publication please follow the link above