Radiating Hope: Radiology Department Blog


A New Way to Talk with Our Patients and Families

A New Way to Talk with Our Patients and Families

Let us introduce you to the newest team member in the Radiology Department at Cincinnati Children’s—Alvin:

alvin_610 ©Bagdasarian Productions



ALVIN is the All Languages Video Interpreter Network—basically an interpreter on wheels. This mobile unit is a unique, automated video and voice call center that instantly matches a patient or family language need to the best available interpreter.

At Cincinnati Children’s, we know that effective communication is a critical part of safe and quality patient care. In our Radiology Department we care for children and families who speak many different languages. Sometimes an in-person interpreter can be scheduled to provide interpreting services on the day of the appointment, but other times children and families come to our department unexpectedly or an in-person interpreter is unavailable.


Imagine bringing your child to the Radiology Department and feeling worried about an injury or illness. As a parent you are seeking information, needing to understand what’s happening with your child, and looking for reassurances that your son or daughter will be all right. Now imagine that everyone around you is speaking a different language…picture how much more frightening that might be for you and your child. Using medical interpreters or technology like ALVIN ensures that we provide effective communication for all our patients and families from our community, the nation and the world.

With ALVIN in our Radiology Department we have:

  • Instant access to trained healthcare interpreters
  • Comprehensive language coverage with over 32 common languages, including American Sign Language
  • 24 hours/7 days a week interpreter services
  • Simple to use touch screen technology
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About the author: Alex Towbin

Alex is a radiologist and the Neil D. Johnson Chair of Radiology Informatics. In this role, he helps to manage the information systems used by the Radiology department. Clinically, Alex is the Assistant Director of thoracoabdominal imaging. His research interests include liver disease, liver tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, and appendicitis.