The following is a guest blog piece from Dr. Bronson Yaldoo
February 25, 2015
"Hola, soy su medico" (“Hello, I am your Doctor”), I stated to a recent patient of mine. Before entering the room, the nurse told me that the patient only spoke Spanish, something that happens more and more nowadays.
Hospitals across the nation face this challenge daily. Some hire on-site translators and others utilize a telephone hotline. There are hospitals that employ multilingual healthcare workers. Most hospitals rely on a telephone interpreter system.
However, not every medical office and hospital in America has those luxuries. In the instant when I was working with my Spanish-speaking patient, I recalled that I had recently downloaded the Canopy Medical Translator app on my phone and put it to the test.
Using Canopy, I was able to decipher the patient's symptoms and came to a diagnosis and treatment plan. The patient’s reaction resonated with me. I recall the way his face lit up during our conversation facilitated by the app, and I was reminded how a smile is part of the universal human language.
Residents and nurses were intrigued by the application, and I encouraged them to download the app.
Surprisingly, Canopy has also been useful as a learning tool outside of patient interaction. I have been using it with another healthcare provider to quiz each other on Spanish medical terminology.
With the growing non-English speaking population in our country, finding fast and accurate ways to communicate at the point of care is becoming more and more important to healthcare providers’ daily routines. As providers, it is our duty to use tools that can best impact the health of our patients, while balancing the demands on our time. Innovative new technologies can help to bridge that gap to improve health outcomes for patients and work flows for clinicians.
Bronson Yaldoo DO