Care in Any Language at Jersey City Medical Center

MARTTI language assistant

The MARTTI video system helps providers at Jersey City Medical Center communicate with patients and families using a live interpreter.

A new technology has been implemented across RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) that breaks down language barriers, eases communication between patients, families and providers, and furthers the health system’s mission to overcome health disparities.

MARTTI tablet attached to wheeled cart Known as MARTTI* (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter), the technology is now available at Jersey City Medical Center to provide 24/7 access to medical interpreters in more than 250 languages. MARTTI devices resemble IV carts with 12-inch tablets attached and are easily wheeled anywhere they are needed—from the registration desk or triage area to the bedside or physical therapy session.

At any point of care, patients and families can feel confident they will understand key information about a condition, a treatment or ongoing medical needs in their native language, and have the ability to speak up and accurately communicate. “The MARTTI system helps create a comfort zone for the patient and family, and ultimately improves the patient experience,” says Jill Anderson, MBA, Vice President, Patient Experience at RWJBH. We want to make sure community members feel connected with our staff and feel the compassion we bring to patient care,” Anderson continues. Improving communication has numerous benefits for patients and families, including increased patient safety.”

A Growing Need

Trends indicate increased need for interpretation services across RWJBH. Nearly 4 million interpretation minutes—a measure of demand for interpretation services—were used across the RWJBH system in 2021. In 2022, the system exceeded 4 million minutes and by the end of 2023, over 1,000 MARTTI’s were deployed system wide. About 100 languages have been interpreted, with Spanish the most frequent.

MARTTI can help patients and families as soon as they enter RWJBH inpatient and outpatient facilities. The patient or a family member can point out their country of origin on the MARTTI screen and choose from a list of languages. An on-screen medical interpreter will then converse with them in the patient’s native language.

Requests for MARTTI carts at RWJBH have exceeded expectations. In fact, initial estimates were for between 200 and 250 devices, however by the end of January 2022, more than twice that many had been rolled out. Patient response has been enthusiastic. “Patients love it, and the staff has raved about it from both a clinical and safety perspective,” Anderson says.

Ije Akunyili, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Jersey City Medical Center, says that given the diverse communities that comprise Hudson County, MARTTI is an invaluable asset for patients requiring translation services.

“It allows our staff to utilize technology to innovation to communicate effectively and respectfully with patients and their families, which, in turn enables them to feel more empowered to communicate in their primary language, which is important in those critical periods of time. Using MARTTI is also a key driver in offering the world-class, high quality care provided daily at Jersey City Medical Center.”

*MARTTI, or better known by the corporate name, Martti by UpHealth Inc.

More about interpreter services at Jersey City Medical Center.