Medical Interpreters: The Key Word Is Qualified

As language diversity continues to rise in the United States, so does the need for qualified interpreters in healthcare. Whether the interpreter be on-site, over video or phone, the key word is qualified. Additional emphasis has recently been placed on the importance of using a qualified interpreter by requirements set forth in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which expressly prohibits the use of an unqualified interpreter barring extreme circumstances. The use of qualified interpreters has also been associated with improved patient-provider communication, patient satisfaction and outcome.

What makes an interpreter qualified?

Qualified medical interpreters possess and demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Language proficiency in both the source and target languages
  • Ability to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially
  • Use of necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology and phraseology
  • Ethical codes of conduct (ie: maintain client confidentiality)

Interpreter Code of Ethics & Core Values include:

  • Beneficence ~
    Qualified interpreters are obligated to support the health and well-being of the patient and his or her support system.
  • Fidelity ~
    Qualified interpreters must remain faithful to the original message as they convey meaning from the source to target language without adding to, omitting from, or distorting the original message.
  • Cultural Brokering ~
    Qualified interpreters are equipped to quickly determine when a cultural difference is impacting patient-provider communication and act accordingly.

Stratus Video takes pride in the quality of interpretation we offer. Our interpreters are trained to adapt to any situation they may encounter. To ensure that our interpreters are properly prepared to provide quality communication assistance, we have implemented a stringent list of minimum requirements and qualifications.

ASL Interpreter Qualifications:

  • Must hold one of the following certifications: NIC, NIC Advanced or Master; RID CI, CT, CI/CT, CSC; NAD Level IV or V, ACCI Level IV or V; Texas BEI-3 or higher
  • Minimum of three years of interpreting experience
  • Must have an extensive working knowledge of professional interpretation, ADA requirements and Deaf Culture

Spoken Language Interpreter Qualifications:

  • Hold a CHI or CMI national certification endorsed by the NCHI or NBCMI, respectively, or proof or medical interpreter training
  • Meet or exceed all Joint Commission interpreter qualification requirements, and remain in compliance with the Affordable Care Act Section 1557
  • Must have at least three years interpreting experience
  • Must have extensive working knowledge of the Interpreting Code of Professional Conduct

Stratus Video Interpreter Training:

All Stratus Video interpreters are given a comprehensive bilingual proficiency assessment designed to test the candidate’s oral language skills in English and the non-English language. The assessment also includes knowledge of medical terminology and the ability to accurately transfer meaning back and forth between the two languages. Once hired, Stratus Video requires the successful completion of a comprehensive training course with follow-up assessment.

Quality Assurance:

Customer satisfaction is the over-riding metric by which all of our interpreters are measured. Frequent quality checks are conducted and identified issues are addressed immediately. Credential audits are conducted on a regular basis.

Learn more about the importance of using a qualified medical interpreter in an educational webinar with Stratus Video VP of Language Operations Kat Jackson as she hones in on the challenges, regulations and best practices surrounding language barriers in healthcare.

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