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MGH rolls out new on-demand medical interpretation service to improve patient care
Metilda Raju, Clerk in Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) General Medicine Clinic, has seen firsthand the power of language at the point of care.
“It makes such a difference when you’re able to speak to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider in the language that you are most comfortable with,” she says.
“You can express your symptoms, concerns and questions in a confident way.”
It’s why she’s so excited about the launch of Voyce, an app that provides 24/7 and on-demand medical interpretation in more than 240 languages, at MGH.
The technology is now available in all patient care areas at the hospital, including the Stavro Emergency Department, Diagnostic Imaging and Patient Registration.
MGH is among the first hospitals in Ontario to roll out Voyce across its entire campus. Since the implementation of Voyce, usage of medical interpretation services at MGH has increased to almost 300 calls per month from 70 calls per month.
“It’s great to have this technology so readily available,” Metilda adds.
Streamlining medical interpretation
Voyce offers an additional, more streamlined interpretation option for patients and providers at MGH, alongside the existing telephone interpretation and in-person sign language interpreter services.
The technology makes it easier – and quicker – for healthcare providers to virtually connect with a trained medical interpreter who speaks a patient’s preferred language or dialect.
Available languages for interpretation through Voyce include American Sign Language (ASL) and Indigenous languages such as Cree and Ojibway.
Providers access Voyce through tablets attached to wheeled stands and are able to connect with an interpreter in 30 seconds or less. The technology abides by Canadian privacy laws.
In addition, patients and providers have the option of seeing the interpreter in real-time through Voyce. Caregivers, family members and other care partners may also be conferenced in.
“Being able to see the interpreter and their facial expressions may seem like a small thing, but it makes the whole interpretation process feel more personable,” Metilda says.
Supporting diverse communities in East Toronto
MGH serves one of Canada’s most diverse communities. Here, more than 50 languages are spoken, including Bengali, Greek and Tagalog, making a service like Voyce even more important in healthcare settings.
“When it comes to medical information, it’s really important for there to be clear communication between a patient and provider,” says Angela Kennedy, Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator at MGH.
“Having quick, easy access to a trained medical interpreter helps ensure there are no misunderstandings and no information falls through the cracks. This ultimately helps improve patient experiences and health outcomes.”
As part of her role at MGH, Angela provides virtual diabetes education classes to patients from diverse communities.
She says Voyce has made a difference in this delivery of virtual care. Over the past few months, she has used the app to access interpretation services in languages such as Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin and Urdu.
Advancing more equitable care
In addition to helping improve patient and provider experiences, the technology helps MGH advance health equity.
This allows the hospital to better provide high-quality, safe and equitable care, and improve the health of everyone in East Toronto – two priorities outlined in MGH’s Strategic Plan 2023-2025: Great care inspired by community.
“Many of the patients we serve at MGH are newcomers that speak multiple languages,” says Denny Petkovski, Director of Corporate Projects and Volunteer Services at MGH.
“Ensuring our healthcare teams have efficient access to medical interpreters helps us improve the experiences for these individuals.”
“Voyce is committed to providing technology-driven interpretation services that break down language barriers in healthcare,” adds Andrew Royce, CEO at Voyce.
“We’re thrilled to partner with MGH so, together, we can work toward achieving health equity and improving patient outcomes.”
Patients and care partners at MGH who would like to use Voyce or another interpretation service should inform their healthcare provider at the point of care. For more information, visit our Interpretation Services page.