Use of a Video Translator System in Ambulatory Care Services in Hamburg – an Analysis of Requirements

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2017.0461–0465

german translation / full article

Claudia Mews, Susanne Pruskil, Thomas Kloppe, Sandra Wilsdorf, Martin Scherer

Keywords: refugees language barrier translator video

Background: Due to the language barrier, asylum seekers and refugees experience great difficulties in the use of medical care services. 10 first aid refugee camps in Hamburg successfully use an internet-based face-to-face video translator system during medical consultation hours. However, transferring refugees into general care is often difficult because the costs for translating services are not covered.

Methods: To investigate whether the use of a video translator system would provide a desirable and technically feasible solution for ambulatory care services, online questionnaires have been sent to 1309 doctors working in ambulatory care clinics in Hamburg. Cross-sectional analyses were carried out.

Results: The response rate was 13.6 %. 85 % of the participating doctors have treated refugees since 2015. 72 % report working with patients with whom communication is limited due to different languages. The use of these patients’ “own translators” or of “language skills available at the clinic” are regarded as approaches to solve this problem. 61 % of the participating doctors found the use of a video translator system in their own surgery to be conceivable. Regarding technical requirements, 84 % named access to the internet and 71 % the use of a computer during patient visits.

Conclusions: Using video translator systems is of interest to doctors but at the same time, doubts remain. Further investigations are necessary to assure their benefit e.g. as to content and health-economic aspects.`

(State: 15.11.2017)

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