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Starting Dec. 1, big changes are coming to the Interpreter Services Department — including a name change to "Language Services."

Manager Angela Frentress said the changes are the result of the department's exponential growth in the past few years.

"Demand for our services has grown from 70,000 patient/provider interpretations a year to more than 100,000 annually, a 43 percent increase," she said, adding that the growth is expected to continue. "We needed to reinvent our service delivery model, and change our name to one that reflects the broad spectrum of language services we provide."

The department is expanding offerings to include in-person, over-the-phone and video interpretation, American Sign Language and written translations. It also will provide YNHH staff more and easier access points for service and information and make it easier and faster for Language Services staff to fulfill requests.

To that end, the department has developed two access portals for services: phone and online. Each provides specific services that support patient needs. The online portal — accessible via Epic, clinical work stations, and the YNHH intranet — will provide access for:

  • In-person interpreters needed within 24 hours or at a future time (scheduled)
  • Translation of discharges (After-Visit Summaries)
  • Translated forms in multiple languages
  • Online help, FAQs

To access the online portal from Epic, go to Tools and select Language Services Request. To access the online portal from, click Departments, then Language Services, and select Language. Directions are provided for making specific requests.

The phone portal, accessed by dialing 111, will provide immediate access for:

  • Over-the-phone interpreters in all languages (24/7)
  • American Sign Language interpreters 4:30 pm - 8 am weekdays and throughout weekends/holidays
  • Requests for video interpreting equipment
  • General information

An obvious benefit of the new system is that providers no longer have to call for interpreters, said Frentress. "A request can be made from any device that allows access to our network. No more being put on hold or leaving messages that require callbacks," she said.

Providers will also be able to see the status of their requests instantly at any point in the process, with updates indicating "pending" or "accepted." In addition, staff will be able to see what services are and are not available any time of day. If a specific service is not available at a particular hour, other options will be provided.

To help staff prepare for the new request procedures, Language Services has created help cards, tip sheets and FAQs, along with detailed information on services and availability times, and will do presentations for certain high-volume users. All reference materials can be accessed at Click Yale New Haven Hospital, then Departments, then Language Services. For more information, email [email protected].