Video Calls Facilitate Patient / Doctor Communication
Written by Ken Anders, Chief Operating Officer, TransPerfect Remote Interpreting
For the millions of Americans whose native language isn’t English, advocating for quality healthcare is a significant challenge. In an increasingly multilingual world, doctors, nurses and caregivers struggle to communicate with non-English-speaking patients. Previously, many hospitals and clinics employed on-site language interpretation experts, but due to budget cuts and the diversity of languages spoken, this is not always an option.
What if doctors could use a tablet or a webcam with a simple Web browser to communicate with patients? This is not just a concept; it’s a reality. Easy-to-use technology now allows caregivers to sync with live language specialists (available 24/7 in languages including American Sign Language) to facilitate real-time, accurate video communication. Why video? Language specialists believe that a skilled interpreter who can see the patient and understand his culture and facial expressions can pick up on visual as well as audio cues to determine things like the patient’s level of pain, cultural inhibitions, and many other clues that can help healthcare pros give the best possible care.
This method also addresses specific cultural barriers that may prevent a person from seeking medical attention. For example, in some Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, male patients are prohibited from being in a room alone with, or being touched by, female healthcare professionals. Improved communications technology is shrinking the communications gap for hospitals on a quest to serve limited English proficiency (LEP) patients.
As electronic records continue to proliferate, providers can use mobile devices to see the records of the person they're about to examine and quickly understand that the patient not a fluent English speaker. When they see this, caregivers can push a button and automatically connect to a video conferencing service. Instead of losing valuable time waiting for a translator to arrive, or trying to hunt down a phone number and dial in to a service, Internet-based language services can be contacted nearly instantaneously, unlike older models of translation services, which were more cumbersome and time consuming. Internet-based interpretation provides speed of access with one touch, allowing physicians to see more patients.
As a result, LEP patients are receiving better care.In many ways, it's like being in the same room with someone who speaks their language. Physicians can dig a little deeper and make sure the person is getting the care she needs. With more and more care being provided by specialists, it is important for vital pieces of patient information to be identified and shared between physicians. For example, a dermatologist can see what his patient’s cardiologist diagnose or prescribes, and then make sure that no conflicting medications are being administered. In healthcare, physicians often must rely on what the patient tells them, so the best information that providers can get via state-of-the-art quality translation services, the better care they can provide.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”