April 25th, 2001

Great River Medical Center has contracted with Language Line Services – a telephonic language translation service that is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Language Line Services may be used if it is determined that a patient is in need of language translation services and there is no hospital volunteer translator readily available.

A hospital department director or supervisor must initiate the call to Language Line Services. The conversation between the patient and the staff and/or physician may then take place by speakerphone, conference call or by passing the handset back and forth.

Language Line Services provides translators for more than 140 languages and offers virtually immediate service when the call is placed. The service is available in all patient-care areas at the hospital and at no cost to patients.

The telephonic language translation service was used for a patient consultation less than one week after it became available at Great River Medical Center.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly we were connected with a translator,” Social Worker Meg Cavanaugh said. “By the time I gave the hospital’s identification number, a Japanese translator was on the line.”

The patient and family were especially pleased because Language Line Services fulfilled their request for a translator who spoke native Japanese rather than American Japanese. In a conference room, a physician and nurse explained a complicated procedure and got the patient’s consent while communicating via speakerphone with the translator.

“This new service broke the language barrier and helped us provide exceptional patient care,” Cavanaugh said.

For more information about Language Line Services, please call the hospital’s Legal Department at (319) 768-3292.