Improving patient access to interpreters in acute and emergency settings through video interpreting

Ms Jodi Dumbrell1, Mr Doug McCaskie1

1Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia

Background: Despite being endorsed by best practice standards, utilisation of interpreters is suboptimal with only 31% of inpatients requiring an interpreter being provided one during their Alfred Health (AH) stay. Failure to address language barriers restricts access to safe, equitable and high quality patient-centred care. Video interpreting is a new and innovative mode of interpreting that may address this service gap. As part of a Department of Health Services innovation grant, AH partnered with Ezispeak, Coviu and Healthdirect to develop an integrated on-demand video interpreting add-on Ezispeakhealth, for the telehealth platform.

Methods: An observational study to review the appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of Ezispeakhealth in emergency and acute general medical ward settings will be undertaken. Evaluation will include: current pre-booked video interpreting compared to on-demand use, percentage of successful calls, number of patients accessing an interpreter within 24 hours of admission and enablers and barriers to video interpreting use. A cost analysis of the project will also be completed.

Results: The pilot study is running between 6 April and 4 June 2021. Reporting, education, governance structure and learnings from establishing on-demand video interpreting in the acute setting will be described. Outcomes of consumer (~n=85) and workforce (~n=100) surveys including ease, acceptability and satisfaction of video interpreting will be presented as well as the cost effectiveness of the project.

Conclusions: The findings of this project will inform the feasibility of expanding video interpreting across the organisation.


Jodi Dumbrell, Video Interpreting Project Officer, Alfred Health

Qualifications: BNurs, BNutDiet/BHlthSc, MPH

Jodi joined Alfred Health in February 2020 in the role of project officer for the video interpreting project, aiming to improve patient access to interpreters through the use of video technology. Jodi comes from a clinical background of Nursing and Dietetics and holds over 20 years’ experience in public health both in Victoria and the UK. Since completing her MPH in 2017, Jodi’s focus has been on improving patient experience and outcomes whilst striving for equitable health care for all.

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