Virtual interpreters help deaf hospital patients

Summarized by Hannah F. Mann, staff writer

Deaf residents of Chicagoland now have the guarantee of full access to interpreters when visiting a doctor—and the interpreter doesn’t even have to be in the same room.

In the Deaf Access Program at Mt. Sinai Hospital, doctors use the Illinois Video Interpreter Network, or IVIN, to communicate with deaf clients. A computer and camera are set up in the examining room, with a pool of interpreters on the other end. This set-up allows doctors to summon qualified interpreters with medical expertise from anywhere, anytime, and at a more cost-effective rate—interpreters are paid for each minute of actual interpreting, without having to reserve extra time for traveling to the location or sitting in a waiting room.

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