At the beginning I was wondering how the Spanish Language Scheduling Pilot (the pilot) would work. Previously, we were called by a scheduler to see if we were available to accept an appointment or we would go into the database and assign ourselves to appointments. Under the pilot, I heard there would be modifications to this scheduling process; the Spanish Interpreters would be able to see more patients, and the pilot would last just a relatively short time before being fully implemented for all languages. All Spanish interpreters, including temps, would have a set schedule and would no longer be able to accept, decline, or change appointments. Temps who do not wish to have a set schedule will be used only for last-minute appointments. The goals of the Spanish Language Scheduling Pilot are to 1) eliminate duplicative work, 2) reduce costs of scheduling, 3) decide if MiChart will work for our program and its’ needs, and 4) have current staffing levels meet demand.
The time arrived and the changes were set. The schedules were settled for every Interpreter each week, there were lots of patients for all of us. A float Interpreter, a new position, was assigned to take care of the patients who arrived at the ER or other last-minute eventualities.
I personally was very skeptical, but to my surprise we were seeing more patients than we used to see, our list of patients didn’t have gaps anymore, and the Interpreters time was set-up wisely and efficiently. Mornings and afternoons were full of patients and we also got to have a break at noon which allowed us to call our Spanish patients, check emails, and work on our Learning tasks. All the appointments for every Interpreter were taking place in the same location or nearby, so we were saving gas and time. We also started making more money since we were able to see more patients.
I have understood that many people have been involved in this project, and so far it has gained everybody’s acceptance and appreciation. The schedulers are very happy since their work is now less complicated and busy. Interpreters are now able to know the plan for their week ahead of time, and everyone’s workload can be monitored closely. More jobs opportunities have opened up since the pilot started and everything looks planned and organized.
Finally it is important to mention that there is an Interpreter who takes care of the patients that show up at ER during the day – the float Interpreter. He or she also is in charge of helping other busy Interpreters in their duties, and takes care of the last-minute eventualities at the main hospital. This Interpreter really makes a difference!
I have to admit that the pilot is a huge success for many reasons, it is creating more jobs, Interpreters can work better, and we are comfortable with our daily duties. I have to say thank you for the pilot and I want it to continue.