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3 Causes of Errors in Medical Interpretation

As far as medical interpretation is concerned, one may assume it’s just hearing and interpretation a word into another language that is required, no, the medical field is simply too technical when it comes to providing interpretation solutions for doctors and patients because it’s all about dealing with lives as well as the health of individuals. There is too much care needed when interpreting medical jargons, terminologies into a target language.

The Causes of Medical Errors

Let’s find and discuss the major causes of medical errors during the interpretations by the medical interpreters.

Cultural beliefs and custom; most cultures are too complicated which impacts medical service delivery in such communities, so to deliver medical services in such a community you must ensure you get medical translators and interpreters who can comply with the cultural beliefs and rules in that community because they will be understanding how to deal with their cultural beliefs. Some culture and beliefs do not allow women to conduct speeches in public; when operating a medical clinic in the particular community, you must get to know just how their cultural beliefs and norm are such that it becomes easier to offer interpreting services, failure to do that you can create mistakes that may end up causing healthcare errors in the medical interpretation.

Making use of family members as translators and interpreters, this is also too dangerous, because of fear of paying for professional medical interpreters or translators, medical services providers may resort to using the patient’s family members or the patient’s caretakers who may be fluent in English to provide medical interpretation, as we all know that getting fluent in English is not sufficient for somebody to be a medical translator associated with interpreter, because of the technicality of healthcare terminologies, a caretaker can’t precisely interpret medical terminologies due to lack of knowledge about it, let’s assume you have no knowledge in the medical field, and you are given to interpret, the doctor mentions a statement that you’ve never heard of in every area of your life, can you manage to understand that statement and interpret into a layman language?

Use of clinicians who have the basic foreign language skills to communicate with patients and doctors instead of qualified medical interpreters, medical services providers might resort to make use of of clinician who may have a little understanding in a particular language understood by the patient. Medical interpretations need fluent native speaking medical interpreters plus translators of the respective language so as to be accurate, but because a clinician who is a Japanese speaker knows some little French is given to act as an interpreter between the physician and the French-speaking patient, there is no way that interpretation will be free from misinterpretation of some words.

Areas where healthcare errors may occur

Medical errors are always common in medical places like;

᾿ Admission forms
᾿ Patient discharge reports
᾿ Healthcare reconciliation
᾿ Emergency department visits and surgical care

Possible ways to avoid medical errors in healthcare interpretation

To avoid medical errors, healthcare service providers should focus on strengthening specialist interpretation services, doctors and patients should be able to communicate and understand each other, they should also provide already translated materials in several foreign languages for the targeted users, cultural awareness and advocacy, improving medical staff training and etc.
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The use of the patient’s specific identity, this will help to ensure that the medical interpreter is given the right medical information for the respective patient for interpretation. If any mistake happens that will different information about the medical prescription medications is interpreted for a different affected person, medical errors have to occur; therefore the medical history of the patient keeping the name of the patient, admission date, is necessary since it includes the medicine prescribed for the patient.

Avoiding medical errors in the interpretation process is partially the role of the patient, a patient is supposed to present all the previous medical reports, including all the drugs that were used, this can help the doctor to know exactly what next step to opted if a particular medicine didn’t work, otherwise a doctor may give back the same medication prescribed which during the process of interpretation, prepared in exact format and which means. In addition to that a patient should also be careful and observant to know which drugs may problems to his/her health. This particular basically letting the informed in regards to the medicines that the patient is hypersensitive to because, during the interpretation process, the interpreter’s work is to talk what the doctor mentions.

Medical errors can be avoided if the doctor’s prescriptions to the patient can clearly end up being understood by the interpreter, hence the interpreter should be sharp, attentive as well as a good listener when the doctor is talking to the patient, this can make the meaning accurate and successful with any minor error that may cause difficulties to the patient’s life.

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