News & Articles

CHEO offers innovative on-demand interpretation service – a Canadian first

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022 — OTTAWA — CHEO patients, their families and clinicians now have access to language interpreters, any time of day, seven days a week – all by app in often less than 20 seconds.

CHEO is the first pediatric hospital in Canada to offer faster access to language interpreters using Voyce, a company that provides on-demand language interpretation service for health-care patients.

“Good, clear and accurate communication is essential to delivering exceptional care to any young person who needs it,” says Jill Sullivan, CHEO’s manager of patient experience. “A growing number of the children, youth and families who we work with do not speak English or French as their preferred language – and time matters.”

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and Ottawa is a G-7 capital. The latest available Census figures show approximately 22% of Ottawa residents report their primary language as other than English or French. In any given month, CHEO receives more than 700 requests for medical interpretation.

CHEO trialed Voyce in the Emergency Department before rolling it out more broadly. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with patients and providers reporting high satisfaction with the service.

“The speed of access to interpreters using Voyce fills a real gap for us, especially in the Emergency Department,” adds Sullivan. “Voyce is a great new offering but does not replace our valued in-person interpreters who provide continuity of care and cultural support for families throughout their visits at CHEO.  However, we can’t always get in-person interpretation on-site quickly due to availability and, even when we can, we need to factor in their travel time. Voyce addresses this issue by offering virtual interpretation, shortening the time it takes to connect with an interpreter, sometimes from hours to seconds.

Voyce offers remote video and audio interpretation in more than 240 languages and dialects to health care providers (including American Sign Language). Voyce technology abides by Canadian privacy laws and interpreters are specifically trained to ensure interpretation accuracy and efficiency for health-care settings.

“Not only is Voyce fast and safe, it also almost immediately reduces stress for families, as they can understand the information that is provided to them and know that they are being understood,” explains Sullivan. “Voyce interpreters provide cultural support to families during their visit, giving them a better overall experience.”

The user-friendly app connects patients to the care they need, when they need it. For example, if a family whose primary language is French Creole comes to the CHEO emergency, the triage nurse can use Voyce to find a French Creole-speaking interpreter, often in less than 20 seconds, and have interpretation ready and available to the family.

“When patients enter the walls of a hospital without speaking one of the official languages, they are often at their most vulnerable state, and this is amplified with children and families,” said Andrew Royce, CEO of Voyce. “Together with CHEO, we are able to offer comfort to patients with interpretation from real people who not only understand medical needs but can bring a sense of empathy to every conversation.”

The adoption of Voyce is another example of CHEO’s leadership in digital health care. CHEO was the first Canadian hospital to start adopting the electronic health record EPIC, which Voyce conveniently integrates into, and more recently CHEO became the first Canadian hospital to achieve HIMSS Stage 7 designation cross its services.

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Media contact

Jesse Auguste, CHEO

o. 613-737-7600, ext. 3381 |

About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a partner of the Kids Come First Health Team, a network of partners in Eastern Ontario working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated system for pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

About Voyce

Voyce is a technology company deeply committed to helping people in need facing language barriers, enabling them to easily and quickly communicate and get help. Voyce’s professional and qualified language interpreters provide interpretation across a variety of technology and telehealth platforms in 240 languages and dialects, including American Sign Language. Across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and globally, Voyce supports thousands of sessions a day providing language assistance to those in need.

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