Newsplex - Martha Jefferson HealthWise - Headlines

Healthwise: Video Sign Language

December 14, 2011

Martha Jefferson Hospital is using a new tool, a service called Video Sign Language Interpretation. It is helping hearing impaired people in Charlottesville.

"It allows patients to ask questions," said Cyndi Crawford, a registered nurse at MJH. "Patients that are hearing impaired or have family members that are hearing impaired, it allows them to communicate effectively with their care team, whether it's the nurses or the doctor."

The care team can request a sign language interpreter. After the computer is wheeled into the patient's room, doctors and nurses select either American or Spanish Sign Language, then then click the "locate agent" button.

"Once the interpreter is available it's like a picture in picture screen that the patient can see," said Crawford.

The interpreter can talk to both the patients and the care providers.

"The interpreter then signs the appropriate question or answer to the patient and once the patient understands they sign what they need to communicate to the interpreters," said Crawford.

The new service is beneficial for patients, especially in emergency situations. With one click of a mouse, the interpreter appears right on the screen.

"It definitely affects the patients outcome. We do want a positive patient outcome and that (video sign language interpreter) does allow it because it's a 24/7 accessibility even if the patient comes in through the ER," said Crawford. "It allows us to communicate what needs to be done and what the patient should expect."

It also helps get essential information to doctors and nurses quickly.

"It's also important to know if they have any cultural beliefs that may play a factor in the recovery, whether they want to receive blood products," said Crawford.

Although it is still a new program at the Martha Jefferson Hospital, health care providers say it is changing care for patients, one signed word a time.

All signed conversations are confidential.

Crawford says hospitals are required to have interpreters so in addition to the video interpreter there is a phone interpreter for patients as well.

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 135625518