|Communication App for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing|
| Posted on 29/05/2014 - 11:36|
To provide an innovative, multilingual mobile translation tool specifically aimed at patients who are deaf or hard of hearing. This tool has the purpose of helping patients and medical personnel by simplifying communication.
The emergency room is a busy, anonymous and chaotic environment for all patients suffering from a disease and - due to impeded communication - the situation may be even worse for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and have to rely on sign language for communication. For such patients, an already frightening situation may become even more demanding since sign language adds a language barrier and most health care professionals are unable to communicate in a sign language, which follows its own grammar and vocabulary and, similar to spoken languages, differs between countries. Interpreters are often unavailable, especially in the late hours and rural areas. This is especially troublesome in situations where prompt translation would be needed, e.g. when dealing with urgent medical issues.
The tool is meant to facilitate communication between sign language users and healthcare professionals and is designed for use in hospitals as well as medical practices. For these settings, the app aides with basic communication in sign language. Based on simple questions and answers, patients who are deaf or hard of hearing can communicate with doctors or the nursing staff. The video provided above presents the straightforward functionality of the app.
Target group and social impact
50 million fellow Europeans are hard of hearing. Of these, 750,000 have to rely on sign languages. In the case of health issues, clear and unambiguous communication between patients and medical professionals is essential. This is not only a question of courtesy. Clear statements can help to avoid serious consequences and may even save lifes. A good relationship between patients and medical professionals always includes trust and communication plays an important role in this context. As the application is meant as a multinational and multilingual tool, the service should be readily available for those who need it. The proposed project is not only focused on the application itself but also on reimbursability with the aim of firmly anchoring health applications in the EU healthcare systems.
Competences of the applicant
Urs is a trained physician and Deputy Director of the P.L. Reichertz Institute for Med. Informatics. He leads a multidisciplinary and multinational research group on mobile health at Hannover Medical School. He is also the Secretary of the Ethics Commission at the same institution. Besides reseraching the ethical and legal framework of Medical Apps, the team develops award winning health apps.
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