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It can be difficult understand what a doctor is saying even when you speak the same language.  Imagine the confusion when one person doesn't understand the other.  Geisinger is trying to fix that with a video interpretation system that's available whenever it's needed.  Its name is MARTTI.

Registered nurse Joi Siebecker was in charge of the floor one night at Geisinger CMC in Scranton when a patient whose language she doesn't speak ended up in her epilepsy monitoring unit.

"Patients in our epilepsy monitoring unit, when they're having a seizure, they have to press an event button.  This computer was in the room, so when he had that seizure activity, we were able to get an interpreter and we knew exactly what was going on with that seizure," Siebecker explains.

That computer she is talking about is a monitor nicknamed MARTTI, or My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter.  Geisinger now has more than 130 monitors system-wide, part of what's called the Language Access Network.

"This group is in Columbus, Ohio, all medically-trained interpreters.  They provide 200 languages and American sign language as well," said Becky Ruckno, Director of Patient Experience at Geisinger.

She says when patients who may need help from an interpreter come into the hospital, they're given a laminated sheet and asked to point to the writing they recognize.  Instantly, they can connect by video remote.  There's no need to "mime" a symptom, and no need for a friend or family member's assistance.

"They're not medically trained.  And we don't think it's the role of a child to have to interpret something to their parent," said Ruckno.

We connected with an interpreter to get a demonstration.

Joi Siebecker says MARTTI makes everybody's experience easier, and more effective than the old way of doing things, which was over the phone.

"It was time consuming, and frustrating, because that comfort level wasn't there," she noted.

Becky Ruckno says MARTTI is used often.  There is a large Vietnamese population in State College, a large Spanish-speaking population in Hazleton, and quite a few people from Nepal living in Scranton.