Three-way video telehealth sessions, with an interpreter present, are revolutionising Australia’s healthcare system. Health professionals have welcomed the uptake in the technology, acknowledging telephone interpreting could sometimes be problematic.
Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds are statistically less likely to access health services regularly, which often leads to poorer health outcomes. And with many at home more often since the pandemic began, doctors are concerned these effects may compound.
This prompted Western Sydney's Local Health District to bring forward the release of its new virtual care service, which includes a three-way video interpreting platform that anyone can access.
Dr Renu Narchal, a senior lecturer at Western Sydney University's school of psychology, says the visual element is very important, as interpreting is not only about words.
"The body language is really important, and also the emotions, and the facial expressions et cetera that come through the so-called friendly, or unfriendly look, the sense of empathy that somebody might get. So yes those links are certainly important and it would be good to have that kind of face-to-face conversation with the person."
To hear the full report click on the audio link above.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.
Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.
SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at http://www.sbs.com.au/coronavirus