People with a foreign language as a first language make up approximately 7.4 per cent of the residents in Tampere. The growth of the foreign-language-speaking population has also increased the need for interpretation services at healthcare stations. In the past, if a patient has fallen ill suddenly and arrived at the nurse’s reception for an assessment of the need for treatment and care, it has not been possible to arrange interpretation. These acute situations have often required interpretation by the patient’s close relatives. To tackle this problem, the City of Tampere decided to pilot video-transmitted mobile interpretation.
The City of Tampere experimented with mobile interpretation, or video-transmitted telephone interpretation, in acute situations at two healthcare stations and six day care centres during the autumn of 2018. The staff at the healthcare stations and day care centers used a smartphone app to contact the interpreter, who then interpreted the discussion via a video connection.
The nurses at the healthcare centre found the service made their work easier. The clients were also content with the opportunity to use an interpreter. When the nurse understands what the patients are trying to explain in terms of their symptoms and the patient understands the care instructions, the nurse does not have to refer the patient to a physician to be on the safe side. Mobile interpretation was also considered invaluable at day care centers. It was highly useful in situations in which the child had fallen ill in the middle of the day, for example, and the parents needed to be informed of the situation without a common language.
The pilot was a success, so the use of mobile interpretation services will be continued and expanded. The service is coordinated via Pirkanmaa Interpretation Center.