On a recent visit to my doctor’s office, I observed something that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in the past: When a nurse called the next patient back for her appointment, a young girl also stood up and explained that her mother didn’t speak English well and asked to accompany her to interpret.
I live right outside of Washington, D.C., which is fortunately a culturally diverse area so I am used to hearing different languages on a day-to-day basis. I guess I never really considered the impact of not speaking English when it comes to seeking medical care. Luckily, the example above, seemed like a routine office visit, but it got me thinking about what would happen in an emergency situation where seconds count.
Paras and Associates know this scenario all too well as they provide real-time language interpreters for healthcare environments using video collaboration. PAA’s service ensures that patients anywhere in the country, who speak any language, can gain access to high quality medical interpretation in an instant. Video communications has played a significant role in their practice and has significantly reduced “lost in translation” errors by allowing doctor, patient and interpreter to see each other’s faces. The power of video overcomes language barriers that can often be misinterpreted over the phone … and herein lies my passion.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melinda Paras, PAA’s president and CEO. Melinda is a veteran of the medical industry and saw a need to deliver a better “business outcome” to patients and medical staff. In this case, the business outcome could mean the difference between life and death.
I am fascinated by the new relationships that exist between businesses and customers as a result of social media. In the old paradigm, traffic was mostly one way: customers were inundated with sales and marketing information but rarely given the opportunity to provide insightful feedback. Not anymore. Via social media, the customer really is king. Customers rightly now expect a relationship that is collaborative, on-demand, automated, and in real-time. A customer can become a renowned expert and evangelist for a company – or embarrass a company by publicly criticizing its customer service.
Smart companies will embrace and promote this new relationship. It’s the best customer focus group on the planet, and it’s free! However, social media isn’t the goal but rather the journey. A smart company will also have a proper social media strategy, not just a social media presence. This is where I hope to make my biggest contribution. The Manufacturing Industry team has embarked on this social media journey to engage with you, our audience. We need to be leading the conversation, listening properly and reaching the right people. I hope that you will join me in this exciting process as active members and contributors as I help guide that journey. Thanks again for the warm welcome, and stay tuned!