All patients and their families deserve to feel empowered in their access to and choices around quality healthcare. Interpreter and Translation Services provides critical support to patients and families who use languages other than English to ensure everyone has access to the information and services needed for healthy outcomes. Seattle Children’s commitment to improving the experience of patients and families who use a language other than English is focusing efforts on: 1) stabilizing the Interpreter and Translation Services program to prepare for future growth and improvements, 2) expanding various programs such as access to video interpreters and 3) trying new approaches to providing care using interpretation and translation for languages other than English.
The number of interpreted encounters per year has increased by 19% over a five-year period. In 2021, there were over 140 languages spoken by patient families and more than 79,000 interpreted encounters across both inpatient and outpatient settings. Since 2019, the average number of interpretations per day has almost doubled to nearly three interpretations per day for families who use a language other than English while their child is staying at the hospital.
Improve experience and increase resources for interpretation and translation services for patients and families who use a language other than English.
Human-centered design (HCD) is a process of creating solutions with impacted communities to ensure the results meet their needs and honor their values and priorities. A specific methodology of HCD, co-design, is a newly adopted approach for Seattle Children’s and includes all participants in the interactive work to design a new service, product or solution. HCD is also being applied in some phases of other Action Plan projects, such as the Behavioral Response Project to replace Code Purple. Co-design means that not only do all communities have the opportunity to provide input to help define the problems being solved for, but the design team includes representatives from all communities as well.
As the project team begins to implement specific solutions, patients and families will be invited back to co-design aspects of the program that impact them most.
“Much of Interpreter and Translation Services’ focus this year is starting to build a structurally sound overarching system that induces more accurate data collection and reporting, and the creation and enhancement of different tools, processes and procedures. This work will eventually lead to informed and data driven decision-making for the needs of interpreters, translators, care providers, other workforce members that utilize our services, and ultimately patients and families who speak languages other than English.”—Zhan Liu, Interpreter and Translation Services Manager