19 Nov How to improve access to healthcare by using a medical interpreter
The work of a medical interpreter is more necessary today than ever before. Language and cultural barriers are often an impediment to accessing healthcare. Thousands of people today have difficulty seeing a doctor. The problem is mainly one of understanding.
The situation becomes more complicated when living in a foreign country and city. Not knowing the culture, the customs and even the language is what prevents more equitable access to health care.
This is especially true for migrants. At some point, they will need to go to hospital or a health centre. And this will not always wait until they have mastered the language.
A hospital is still a hostile place. Rarely does anyone want to go through its doors. When a person arriving from another country who does not speak the language walks through the doors, the situation becomes worse.
The perception of the concept of health or of certain diseases is not the same for everyone; it depends, to a large extent, on the place (and culture) of origin.
What is the job of a medical interpreter?
It is in such cases that the importance of medical interpreters becomes apparent. The medical interpreter is in charge of accompanying the patient from the moment they arrive at the hospital, helping them with the relevant documentation for their admission or consultation, the creation of their records, visits to the emergency room, and even accompanying them to any type of test. Until the patient leaves the hospital, the medical interpreter is by their side to help them with the language.
It should be borne in mind that the aim of hospital interpreting, also known in the healthcare field as escort interpreting, is to facilitate and enable communication between the healthcare staff and the patient and their family.
In short, the work of the medical interpreter is essential today.