July 13, 2020

Medical Interpreting launches on-demand video service to increase access, eliminate patient care delays

As UC Davis Health strives to better serve our diverse communities and ensure access for all, Medical Interpreting Services (MIS) plays an increasingly important role in the delivery of care.

The MARTTI (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter) unit makes it easy for providers to connect with Medical Interpreting Services. The MARTTI (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter) unit makes it easy for providers to connect with Medical Interpreting Services.

Last fiscal year, MIS provided or facilitated interpreting services for more than 60,000 encounters across the health system – in 80 different languages – in-person, over the phone or via video.

Launched in 2002 at select ambulatory locations, the MIS video interpreting program has been well-received by patients and providers alike, as it eliminates wait times, allows for faster connections and streamlines service to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and deaf/hard-of-hearing populations.

“While in-person interpreting service is the gold standard, its drawback is the mismatch in schedules,” explained Elena Morrow, MIS manager. “Providers and/or patients often run early or late; interpreters are reassigned to a different location; and patient visits end up being canceled or rescheduled or proceed without interpreting services.”

To double down upon and further enhance the advantages of the video program, MIS is launching an on-demand video service at the hospital in July, with plans to expand to ambulatory clinics later this year. Successfully implemented in recent years at four other UC medical centers, this on-demand program will enable providers to quickly connect with video interpreting services in more than 200 languages, including American Sign Language.

UC Davis Health is the first UC Health campus to incorporate staff interpreters into this on-demand model of video service.

“With on-demand video interpreting, language support is available at the time that is convenient for providers and patients,” Morrow said.

Interpreters such as Victoria Ayala are essential to providing care for diverse populations.

No longer required to place requests in Epic for visits under one hour in length, providers simply select a language interpreting option from a MARTTI (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter) unit – essentially an iPad on wheels. That call is routed first to a UC Davis Health staff interpreter, and if no in-house interpreter is available, the call automatically rolls to a vendor service.

Given the benefits for all parties, Morrow said the goal is for on-demand video to become a more favored option for delivering care through an interpreter. At the same, however, telephone interpreting will still be available for more basic conversations, and in-person services still recommended for complex or sensitive communication.

“MIS plans to continue providing in-person support for pre-scheduled family meetings and other complex appointments, while the majority of language services is delivered via video and telephone,” Morrow said.

To learn more about the rollout of the on-demand video program, and for training on the new system, contact MIS dispatch at 916-734-2321.