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The CyraCom Blue Phones: Ensuring Nothing Gets Lost in Translation

Posted Mar 15 2013 6:00am

Diversity, quality care, safety and customer satisfaction are core values of LifeBridge Health . Communicating in a patient’s preferred language embraces all of these values. While working in a multicultural institution you can, at any time, come in contact with a visitor, patient or family member for whom English is not their native language. At first, this may seem like a challenge, but there is a resource at all LifeBridge Health hospitals that can help you should you find yourself in this situation.

Providing access to over 200 languages 24 hours a day, the “blue” CyraCom phone is an easy-to-use resource available to help all employees and patients overcome these communication barriers. There is a “blue” phone located in all patient access areas (i.e., outpatient clinics, inpatient units and at the information desks). cyracom phone

Prior to using the phone itself, you’ll need to identify the patient or visitor’s preferred language. You can do this by showing them the 8.5” x 11” Interpreter Services sign or the language identification chart attached to the phone which will allow them to point to what language they speak.

The phone has two receivers. You will give one receiver to the patient or visitor and the other is for you. LifeBridge Health has already pre-programmed the facility code for easy access. Listen and follow the recorded instructions that will prompt you to enter the language code, and after a few seconds you will be connected to a trained interpreter. You then speak as you would if you were having a conversation directly with the patient, so remember to keep eye contact with them.

If you are unable to locate a CyraCom phone, you can use a regular phone or Vocera to contact Telecommunications or the hospital operator. They will be able to connect you with a trained CyraCom interpreter. (Alternatively, you can type “CyraCom” into the intranet phonebook to find the number.) Although without a blue phone, you will have only one receiver, you should speak to the CyraCom interpreter as if you are speaking to the patient. If you’re in a private location, you can use the speakerphone to facilitate the conversation.

Thanks to the blue phones, no longer should you try to communicate directly in English with a patient who most likely will not completely understand what you are saying to them. Neither should you rely on one of their family members to interpret your conversation. Family members haven’t been trained in medical communication and they could leave out vital information. Miscommunication not only could lead to a negative patient interaction, it also increases the risk of poor patient outcomes.

In short, the CyraCom blue phone resource gives you the ability to provide accurate information to our patients and visitors, which promotes patient satisfaction and safety.

-Written by Tracey D. Stinney, Medical Administrative Assistant for Thomas Genuit, M.D. , MBA, FACS, David Shear, M.D. , FACS and Lingxiang Ye, M.D.Department of Surgery  (for Health Equity Task Force Communications Subcommittee)

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