The North East London Health and Care Partnership has commissioned the use of the CardMedic translation app to support its healthcare services.
The integrated care system (ICS) for the area is planning to use the app – which provides instant translations during consultations and treatment, using a mobile device or tablet – in an effort to reduce health inequalities among the local population.
The app will initially be used in maternity services and to support improvements in perinatal pelvic health among those who need extra specialist care during or after pregnancy.
It is also hoped this will enable maternity teams to use translation services in a more efficient way – allowing staff to act more quickly in urgent and emergency situations and overcome communication barriers at times when translators are not available.
CardMedic said this follows national reports and audits suggesting poor outcomes – particularly for those from Black, Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds – could have been different with more accessible information, stronger communication and greater cultural awareness.
Gaps in service provision
Alice Compton, senior project manager for maternity digital and data transformation and a digital midwife at the ICS, said: “After speaking with maternity service users in North East London and understanding their experiences, it was clear that major gaps in service provision existed, with pregnant people and families often feeling they were not being listened to by staff.
"Deploying CardMedic will help us address this – giving service users the opportunity to play an active role in their care and reassuring clinicians that they are delivering the same care standards to all their patients, irrespective of their language or background.”
As well as providing instant translation support in a number of different languages, CardMedic can be switched to British Sign Language and subtitles to help those who are deaf or have hearing problems, Easy Read for children or people with learning disabilities, and a 'read aloud' function for those with visual impairment or literacy issues.
The North East London Health and Care Partnership covers Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, and Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.