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App Allows UVA Medical Staff to Communicate with Non-English Speaking Patients

Posted: Updated: Apr 03, 2018 11:04 PM
The cyraCom app helps staff and patients communicate The cyraCom app helps staff and patients communicate
A webcam function allows translators to speak to patients A webcam function allows translators to speak to patients
Spanish and Arabic are among the most-used languages Spanish and Arabic are among the most-used languages
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The University of Virginia Medical Center is making sure all of its patients have the same level of understanding when they come in to the facility.

An app called CyraCom is now available to all medical staff and can translate up to 200 different languages.

When UVA Language Services started out, it was made up of just volunteers.

Now it’s staffed with Spanish interpreters, an American Sign Language interpreter, and many others.

This app is another way that UVA Language Services is continuing its efforts to connect with all types of people since not everyone speaks English as his or her first language

That’s where the CyraCom app comes in.

“We get a little over 200 requests every day for non-English speaking patients,” says Vickie Marsh, the manager of language services.

The app is available to all staff members at UVA Medical Center, as long as they have a smartphone.

The app connects users to CyraCom interpreters by phone in over 200 different languages and by video chat in up to 35 languages when a UVA interpreter is not available in person.

“Every single person deserves the same opportunity and the same education and the same understanding," says Donna White the clinical pharmacy coordinator of ambulatory care.

One Spanish interpreter, Raquel Garcia, says she knows the frustrations of language first-hand because her parents came to the United States from Cuba.

“I know how important it is for them to be able to communicate, so I know how the patient feels because I've lived it,” says Garcia.

Every exam room in the UVA Children’s Hospital has a CyraCom webcam available.

“The interpreter on the screen can see the patients’ reactions, they can see on their face whether or not they are understanding what the provider is saying to them,” says Marsh. “A lot of times some of that is lost in the voice.”

The University of Virginia has a contract with CyraCom. The budget for this service is done through the language department.

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