SNVMC provides interpretive services, either through MARTTI or in-person, for nearly 60 different languages over a six month period

MARTTI joins the SNVMC team and helps bridge the communication gap

“MARTTI” or My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter provides more than 250 languages

Image Marttirect Image Marttirect Image Marttirect

Imagine having a medical emergency, but not being able to communicate what’s wrong to your doctor. For some, that’s been a reality, but not at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

“We want you fully informed and engaged,” explain Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s Director of Patient Relations, Leon Ransome.

Ransome has been in the Sentara family for 27 years, but four years ago he came to Sentara’s northern most medical center. Immediately, he noticed a difference and realized something different would have to be done here, “As soon as Leon came in, he identified that there was a need, a language services need, because we are in a melting pot. We are here among so many cultures and he identified that not only as a community, but among employees as well,” remembers patient representative and interpreter Sandy Flores.

When Ransome arrived the hospital had already utilized a phone line interpreter, but Ransome wanted more. That’s when “MARTTI” or My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter, joined the team. MARTTI is a video remote interpreting system which provides more than 250 languages, including American Sign Language, more than 70 of those languages are able to be shown face to face on a video monitor. MARTTI, coupled with on site, in-person interpretive services, has helped bridge the communication gap.

“Just looking at some statistics over the last six months, we have provided interpretive services, either through MARTTI or in-person, for nearly 60 different languages. During that same time period, there have been over 10 thousand uses of MARTTI,” says Ransome.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center has 33 MARTTI units. In addition to those units, thanks to a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation, the hospital has four bilingual interpreters on site to better serve the diverse patient population. “You’ll find over half of my staff is Spanish speaking. All of my Spanish/bilingual staff are now qualified medical interpreters, which is a great thing. They also provide interpretive services in the ED, registration, inpatient units, diagnostic testing, community health events, and discharge phone calls, to name a few,” explains Ransome.

The services are so wide-reaching many patients come to the hospital and ask for the interpreters by name, “It’s very rewarding. As soon as I walk into a room, we automatically connect. There’s my voice. There’s somebody who came in who can relate to them,” shares Flores, talking about bridging that gap.

Moving forward, Ransome hopes to grow these services. He believes they not only support the patient’s right to effective communication, but add to a patient’s overall experience and enhance the patient’s trust and confidence in the care team, making it a win-win for everyone involved.

“We are on a journey. One size does not fit all, that’s the biggest thing. And, because one size does not fit all, we have to design programs that fit the various needs of our community and we have to tap into the community themselves to make a difference, first we have to seek to understand,” explains Ransome.