WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dr. Fernanda Moreira is a Family Physician with Novant Health from Argentina. Thanks to her fluency in both English and Spanish, Dr. Moreira can easily navigate encounters with her mostly Spanish-speaking patients.
“I have found many times that due to language barriers, many details on health and the patient's culture have not been picked up and have led to maybe diagnosis that has been far from the patient's needs,” Dr. Moreira says.
Other physicians in her practice don't have that ability, until the practice got a handy new device they like to call 'Bobbie.'
'Bobbie' is a video remote interpreting system developed by Stratus, a company focused on language access services and telehealth solutions, according to their website.
During a visit, patients can identify if they need assistance with interpretation during their visit. A nurse will setup 'Bobbie.'
They first select the language they need interpreted, then they wait until they are connected with an interpreter remotely, kind of like a Skype call.
The interpreter then facilitates conversation between the patient and the physician or nurse throughout the visit.
Since getting the device, Dr. Moreira says that healthcare workers in her practice have been able to connect with non-English speaking patients, including herself.
She says that although most of her patients are Spanish-speakers, she also has Vietnamese patients she can now communicate with more efficiently.
“By using the interpreter system, I was able really to go deep into the problem, figure out what the patient's needs were, understand her beliefs, her religious beliefs, her background, culture, and finally really help her with the health problem that she had,” Dr. Moreira shared about a specific encounter.
Dr. Moreira says that the problem is the interpreter's one-on-one availability. In the past, she says she's had interpreters working over the phone on speaker.
“It's the first time I've really had this type of interpreter system. I used to have one on speaker phone” Moreira says. “This way we can see their face, the patient can see the face of the interpreter, we can create a nice bonding during that encounter so it really facilitates the communication between the patient and the physician.”