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News Tip: DISCO Breaks Down Language Barriers

A visit to an emergency room can be stressful enough without having to worry about language barriers.

  • Date: 4/10/2003
  • BIDMC Contact: Jerry Berger
  • Phone: 617-667-7308

A visit to an emergency room can be stressful enough without having to worry about language barriers. A new wireless video system in place at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's state-of-the-art Emergency Department is designed to reduce that added stress.

DISCO, (Digital Interpreter Services Communicator), launched in January, enables patient, doctor and interpreter to communicate directly with each other over a wireless teleconferencing system. This secure, one-on-one interpreter interaction not only provides timely communications between health care provider and patient, but it also enables the integration of voice, video and data, especially important when searching for a diagnosis.

The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center interpreter service now has 30 staff interpreters for 20 staff languages while handling more than 60,000 patient encounters annually. Interpretation either in person or via phone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while interpretation via wireless video is currently available during weekday hours.