A review of the Video Conferencing trial project for the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Victoria demonstrates the success of the use of technology to support and enhance services to the community. This trial, which provided Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) facilities, was implemented across six sites which were nominated by DHS. The six sites included; VicDeaf (Auslan interpreting service), On Call (DHS language service provider), Bendigo Hospital (Bendigo, Loddon Mallee), Latrobe Community Health Service (Morwell, Gippsland), VicDeaf (Ballarat, Grampions), and DHS Regional Office (Geelong, Barwon South West).
The trial was conducted between August and December, 2009 and BSR Solutions was contracted to monitor and report on the outcome of the trial implementation, and to make recommendations for its potential wider use to support the deaf and hearing impaired community throughout Victoria. The Auslan VRI services were tested from October through to December of 2009.
The VRI service model trialled proved effective and appropriate. The technology infrastructure maintained 99.5% availability and 94% reliability for service during the trial period. With the introduction of VRI services for four rural centres, the uptake in Auslan interpreting increased by more than 200% across all sites. There was also an increase in uptake of Auslan interpreting overall in Victoria, compared to the same period in the previous year.
The results, as described by end users during the Auslan VRI trial, included:
- It does not take as long to book the times needed for an interpreter.
- There is no need to ask friends to help with interpreting.
- 100% of requests were able to match requests in terms of date, time and interpreter.
- Service providers have access to technology that is reliable and of high quality, and they can ensure that informed decisions are made when providing the service.
- Community members and service providers have access to technology they describe as impressive, excellent and exceed their expectations.
- Community members say they have been strongly supported by DHS.