Grant Funds Video Remote Medical Interpreter Equipment for CHP

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — With 41 different languages and 28 ethnic groups counted among Community Health Programs patients around Berkshire County, CHP is now equipped with on-demand, live medical translation technology at its 10 practice locations. The new technology has been acquired with a grant from Greylock Federal Credit Union.

The video remote interpretation monitors, from Stratus Video, include Wi-Fi-enabled iPads that connect patients to certified medical interpreters in real time. With quick access to translators, CHP doctors, nurse practitioners and other staff can have better medical discussions with patients, regardless of language barriers. The touch-screen monitors are mounted on stands with wheels, and can easily be moved among patient rooms. Insurance does not cover the cost of this technology. 

"It's our goal to provide equitable, quality health care for all of our patients, regardless of where people come from or what languages they speak," said Jennifer Wilkinson, CHP's chief operating officer who spearheaded the Stratus project. "This real-time translation technology allows for improved medical conversations, which are accurate and culturally sensitive to our patients."

Better communication leads to better care, diagnosis, treatment, medication discussions and follow-up expectations. Even patients who feel they are proficient in English may prefer to receive medical information in their native language.

Until now, CHP has relied on telephone interpreters or in-person medical interpreters; scheduling can be problematic and phone translation is not always effective. Communication lapses can also happen if family members or friends act as interpreters, since they may lack the medical terminology needed in their own language, or they may be reluctant to share unpleasant medical information with the patient.

"We are grateful to Greylock for recognizing the importance of medical fluency for our patients around the Berkshires," said Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs. "The more we can level the health care playing field with technology such as this, the healthier our community will be."

"Greylock is happy to fund this  grant for equipment that will improve the health and medical outcomes of so many of our neighbors," said JamieEllen Moncecchi, Greylock's vice president of administration. "We are also delighted to support an initiative that fits so perfectly into the Credit Union's vision and mission of enabling our community to thrive enriching people's lives."

Community Health Programs, based in Great Barrington, Mass., is federally qualified health care network serving approximately 35,000 Berkshire County region residents with primary health care for adults and children, women's health care, dental care, physical therapy, vision care and nutrition services. CHP Family Services reaches parents and children in Southern Berkshire County with parent-child networking and education, WIC and nutrition classes. CHP accepts all patients, regardless of ability to pay, and accepts all forms of public and private health insurance.

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