The recommendations for addressing some of the most prevalent challenges to language access in healthcare, as identified by the stakeholders and outlined in this document, were developed by workgroups at the fifth annual International Language Services Conference®. The conference took place on October 14, 2016, in Houston, Texas.
The organizers of the conference, as part of their preparations, circulated a survey among various stakeholder groups of the healthcare interpreted encounter in order to identify their major challenges. A surprising discovery was the apparent overlap of similar challenges experienced by different stakeholder groups. The resulting topic domains are: Competency and Qualifications, Integrating Language Access into Healthcare and Fiscal Challenges.
The workgroup format was a new addition to the event. The participants at the conference included interpreters, hospital administrators, healthcare staff, consumers of language access services, interpreter educators and case managers. Before they began the discussion of their selected topics in small groups, the participants had the opportunity to hear from one or more representatives from each represented stakeholder group. This process allowed for the development of recommendations that would acknowledge and address the interests of all stakeholder groups of the interpreted healthcare encounter. Dialogue was enhanced by the presenters’ shared personal and anecdotal experiences as well as their subject-matter expertise. The resulting recommendations ranged from building public awareness to enhanced professionalization throughout the industry.