Exchange of Medical Information
Follow the process to request medical interpreters
whenever exchanging medical information with non-English, LEP (Limited
English Proficient) and deaf or hard of hearing patients to ensure patients
Summary guidelines to work with medical interpreters. For a more
comprehensive guide contact us:
- Prior to Seeing the Patient
- Give background & set goals to get on the same page,
before entering the room.
- Encourage clarification .
- Address the patient, not the interpreter, and maintain primary
eye contact with your patient.
- Dont think out loud. Patients wonder what
is NOT being interpreted and sometimes understand more than
they can speak.
- Keep a comfortable pace that will allow time for interpretation.
- Avoid medical jargon and idiomatic expressions to make the
encounter less complicated.
- Listen before redirecting.
- Give full information on diagnosis, tests, and treatment.
- Confirm understanding and agreement with patient to ensure
- Encourage interpreter to clarify terms with you. Feel free
to ask interpreter to interpret back to you whenever you are
concerned about the accuracy and completness of the interpretation.
Ensure Accuracy and Confidentiality
- Use the interpreter as a resource for you.
- Speak privately with the medical interpreter who may perceive
cultural and emotional subtleties more clearly.
- Do not ask the patients to bring their own interpreter.
- Do not ask another patient to help you interpret.
- Do not use children or family members.
- Do not use non-qualified hospital support staff.
- Document the presence of the MGH Medical Interpreter on the patient's chart. All the MGH Medical Interpreters carry ID's indentifying them as such.