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Sussex hospital trust begins to use patient communication app


Mark Say Managing Editor

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University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has become the first to sign up to use a web and mobile app for clinicians to communicate with patients using online flashcards.

It has agreed on a five-year deal with Oxford based start-up CardMedic to use its app in supporting patients with hearing, sight or language difficulties, cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, literacy issues or who need to be treated by a healthcare professional wearing personal protective equipment.

It has begun to use the app at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and is planning to roll it out across its other sites.

The app – which was developed by NHS anaesthetist Dr Rachael Grimaldi during her maternity leave – uses flashcards to replicate conversations on a range of healthcare topics including breathing and heart problems, end-of-life care and emergency situations.

Staff can use questions and explanations developed by clinical professionals or add free text, and the content can be converted into nearly 20 different languages, sign language videos, easy-read or read-aloud modes, and use an integrated speech-to-text translation tool.

Better communication

Josephine Octobre, a practice educator at the Royal Sussex, said: “There were areas of the hospital where we found it difficult to communicate through doors and with full PPE. We tried to use paper held up to the glass, but we soon ran out of paper.”

“What we could do now, especially with patients who were hard of hearing, was put our phones in plastic baggies and use them to give immediate information about what we were doing.”

CardMedic said it is aiming to further develop the app with a working group of speech and language therapists in specialists in maternity, learning disabilities and patient experience.

Image from iStock, ipopba

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