Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 27, 2012

Que? Technology Assists Healthcare Providers Cater to Spanish Speaking Community

Have you ever been in a situation where you go to ask someone a question and their response is a look of complete blankness? Well, imagine you are in desperate need of emergency medical attention and the person who is attempting to help you can’t understand the only language you are fluent in. With new technology innovations, that headache and frustration seen all over the world, and especially within large metropolitan areas that serve as melting pots in which all cultures intertwine, could forever be eliminated.

Specifically, the surge seen as of late within the Hispanic population in the U.S. has prompted doctors and nurses to require a toolset that can be leveraged in these types of circumstances that includes applications like MediBabble Translator and Pocket Medical Spanish. While the first app is a professional-grade medical translation solution that is designed to improve the safety, efficiency and overall quality of care for non-English speaking patients according to its iTunes description, the second significantly drives the level of care delivered and is now used by more than 1.4 million healthcare professionals throughout the globe.

Additionally, Polyglot Med Spanish, developed by the Duke Area Health Education Center (AHEC) back in 2011 but recently revamped, powers almost real-time audio translation to nearly 3,000 common medical words, phrases and questions in both English and Spanish.

“It was developed by a Duke Medical student. He realized the challenges of health care providers even with some Spanish language skills to effectively and appropriately communicate with Spanish-speaking patients,” said Dr. Marvin Swartz, director of Duke AHEC, in a recent article. “The app is not designed to substitute a professionally trained interpreter. However, as a learning tool to build the health care provider’s basic acquisition of the language, the Polyglot Med Spanish app is a great tool.”

While there are many next-generation offerings that can be purchased within either the iTunes or Google Play stores, some stand apart from the pack. If you are a doctor and or nurse and you forget the Hippocratic Oath, there is an even app for that even though I surely hope that isn’t something you could easily disregard.

By the year 2029, Inventor Ray Kurzwell is forecasting that machines will be equal with the level of human translation. And these applications are definitely helping to pave the way for this prediction to ultimately become a reality.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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