Skip Navigation
Bridging the Language Gap for Better Health

Easing frustrations. Giving deaf and non-English speaking people a stronger voice
Good healthcare starts with good communication between provider and patient. A two-way line of understanding and respect is essential to creating treatment plans and giving informed consent for medical treatment.

This can often be a struggle for deaf and non-English speaking people and their healthcare team.

For many in these groups, healthcare can be out of reach to because of basic communication barriers.  Some providers don’t have the resources to offer American Sign Language (ASL) or any other language interpreting service. 

Making matters worse? Not all deaf people hear alike. Hearing levels, languages and styles vary. As a result, deaf and non-English speaking individuals can find it hard to talk their healthcare provider and this could result in reduced quality of care.

The first step to ensuring better healthcare access for deaf individuals is the establishment of a strong relationship between the primary care provider and the patient

--National Association for the Deaf, Position Statement On Health Care Access For Deaf Patients

Geisinger is there

Finding innovative ways to communicate with patients
At Geisinger-Community Medical Center (G-CMC), our Cultural Diversity Task Force, including social services, case management, nursing and information technology, researched resources available after working with United Neighborhood Association in identifying gaps in language translation services.

We used the results of that research to bring Deaf Talk interpreting to G-CMC. It uses a secure Internet videoconferencing on demand to bridge communication and cultural gaps. Deaf Talk is accessible 24/7, 365 days per year, directly into any patient care area, with minimal set-up time. Both sign and speaking language interpreters are nationally certified, medically trained and especially skilled to interpret in medical situations as well as any other subject necessary.

Deaf Talk is accessible to all G-CMC patients and families in our Emergency Department, Outpatient Departments and Inpatient Units.  This includes diagnostics, treatment and during the surgical continuum of care. Our patients predominantly travel from within a 9-county area. 

Language Link Interpreting Service
Since 1994, Language Link improved access to healthcare for non-English speaking people in our community and is accessible to all G-CMC patients and families in all of our Outpatient Departments and Inpatient Units.

Developed to address the need to communicate in other languages with an increasingly non-English speaking population as is being seen in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Language Link services are available via the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Services can be arranged with very little lead time, and offers over 75 languages and dialects by nationally certified interpreters.