The benefits of standards and certification extend to patients, interpreters, healthcare providers, healthcare administrators, coordinators of interpreting services, educators and language services companies.
Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is essential to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment, obtain informed consent and prevent medical errors. CCHI’s certification will ensure that interpreters meet specific demonstrable skills to ensure effective communication between patients and healthcare providers. Patients will be able to focus on their healthcare concerns rather than communication concerns.
Certification is a means of separating competent interpreters from the larger candidate pool of less qualified interpreters. A valid and independent professional certification must first be recognized and preferred by healthcare providers requesting interpreting services. This demand for professional qualifications will then incent healthcare interpreters to undertake the necessary training and development to achieve the certification, creating an enhanced professional career path and lifelong advancement opportunities.
For the Healthcare Industry
Providers, healthcare administrators, coordinators of interpreting services and other interested parties are realizing the significant benefits of working with trained and qualified interpreters. These include a positive impact on risk management, better cost controls, and higher patient compliance and satisfaction. Legal and regulatory guidance on language access specify the provision of “qualified” interpreters and many state laws ban the use of children as interpreters. Hospital and interpreting services administrators increasingly face an urgent challenge: How can they assess the competency of interpreters in a wide variety of languages in a valid, consistent and reliable way? In the past, administrators have sought to establish or validate interpreter credentials through colleague references and referrals, as few universal interpreter credentialing processes exist. However in neither case is competence actually measured.
For Language Companies
Today, in a field without a recognized professional standard for healthcare interpreters, language services agencies provide "trainings" that range from two-hour orientations to 60+ hours of training and internships. Healthcare providers oftentimes do not have the resources or capability to evaluate whether or not agency interpreters have the essential knowledge and skills to function competently as healthcare interpreters. A national certification will therefore significantly benefit agencies dedicated to investing in comprehensive professional training and development as healthcare providers begin expressing a preference for certified interpreters.
As more providers and governmental entities recognize the benefits of working with trained and qualified interpreters, they may begin requiring language companies to demonstrate the competency of their employees and independent contractors.
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) developed a certification program that will guarantee quality and consistency as well as limit providers’ legal liability. It also ensures consistency across healthcare providers and systems that currently must develop their own methods of assessing interpreters’ competency and skills.