EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s a frightening scenario for anyone who’s injured and taken to a hospital where no one speaks your language.
You’re not only hurt but there’s no one there you understand to find out what’s happening. People faced with that language barrier are more likely to experience worse healthcare outcomes.
It motivated one man to do something about it to help people get the healthcare they need in hundreds of languages.
It’s called Martti by UpHealth. It provides the necessary technology to make medical interpretation services available remotely at hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide.
The man behind this technology is Andy Panos whose brother was injured decades ago in a car crash in Mexico.
“We learned first hand what language barriers were. We didn’t speak Spanish and the providers didn’t speak English,” stated Andy Panos, President of U.S. Telehealth at UpHealth.
Language barrier problems also exist in the U.S. for an estimated 25 million people who are not fluent in English. They are immigrants and refugees, including some who’ve fled war-torn Ukraine.
More than 2,100 hospitals nationwide are using Martti by UpHealth as a means to communicate with foreign language-speaking patients.
“We do provide 250 different languages including American sign language on the platform. Devices in the emergency room push the button, get the interpreter, start your communication,” explained Panos.
“We like to introduce ourselves to the patients, the providers, the family,” said Guadalupe Alvarado, a Telehealth Interpreter.
Guadalupe Alvarado is one of the interpreters who provide telehealth translation in Spanish to a growing Hispanic patient population in the U.S.
“It’s just a sense of relief because now the provider is able to understand the patient. The patient is able to tell the provider what ails him. The provider will be able to help so the patient can get better,” stated Alvarado.
Whether it’s a physician visit or something that requires emergency room treatment or hospitalization, Martti by UpHealth is available 24/7 to curb misinformation, reduce hospital stress, and ultimately get patients facing language barriers the proper care quickly.
“We’re really trying to create, you know, equal access for all through language and everybody can have the care they deserve,” explained Panos.
If you were wondering if medical interpretation services through Martti by UpHealth are covered by insurance, hospitals and other healthcare providers actually pay for it.