Momentum telemedicine service descriptions
Objectives, expected outcomes, main beneficiaries
The telemedicine service’s full title is: “Teleinterpreting – Improving interpreting services in health care through the use of videoconference equipment.” Its immediate objective is to combine video conferencing and health professional interpretation services to provide more effective consultations between healthcare professionals and patients who do not speak Danish. In the longer term, the videoconference infrastructure will provide opportunities for a number of additional activities, including home monitoring and other telemedicine treatments as well as training of medical staff. It was expected that, by the end of 2012, tele-interpretation services will be more widely available, providing easier access to health services.
Many of the expected gains are qualitative. They include:
• Qualification of health professional interpretation services
• Professional distance to the interpreters
• Greater accessibility of interpretation services
• Easier coordination in case of delay or cancellation
• Increased real interpretation time in relation to less transportation time
• Less use of family members as interpreters
• Overcoming shyness.
The main beneficiaries are patients and healthcare professionals.
Targeted population, number of patients
The population targeted by this particular service are patients who do not speak Danish who need to communicate with a healthcare professional.
It is estimated that there are 200,000 interpreted consultations each year in Danish hospitals and general practices.
Type of telemedicine service
This telemedicine service is a language interpretation service to support effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients who do not speak Danish.
Set-up that was being replaced
In Denmark, patients who do not speak Danish are entitled to the assistance of an interpreter. The interpreters are booked through private agencies on an ad hoc basis, and costs are covered by the health care services. There are an estimated 200,000 interpreted consultations every year in Danish hospitals and general practices. By far the most common type of interpreting is face-to-face, but users are often dissatisfied with the cost and accessibility of the existing service, as well as questioning its neutrality and quality.
Outcomes and results expected after introduction
The overall aim, by the end of 2012, is that tele-interpretation services will be used in 90 percent of hospital departments with patient contact and in selected municipalities and general practices. The expectation is that the use of video conferencing will become a useful and efficient tool for health professionals, thus easing workload and improving quality in the clinic. Furthermore, the videoconference infrastructure will provide opportunities for a number of activities other than interpreting, including home monitoring, other telemedicine treatments, and training of medical staff.
This service is operational and part of the mainstream health service.