A new video from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Speaking Together project describes the role that language services play in delivering high quality health care. The video features Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where medically trained interpreters are contributing to safety and clinical outcomes for patients who speak or understand little English. The hospitals are participants in the national project to improve health care language services and reduce health care disparities associated with language barriers. Another initiative supporting hospitals with language assistance resources is the Missouri Hospital Association’s www.healthtranslations.com Web site.
Whenever you ask me about books and articles that interpreters should read, I come up with a blank. This morning, though, there was an article in the “New York Times” about Atul Gawande, a surgeon whose essays I have been reading in “The New Yorker” for years. I love them because they look at medicine in a human and philosophical way. I find them very easy to read — because the language is clear and there is a story — but not simplistic, particularly because they look at imperfection.