To enhance language support for patients and improve communication efficiency, Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust embarked on a groundbreaking trial period from 15th March to 14th June 2023, introducing Wordskii on Wheels (WoW) devices in their A&E departments at Worcester Royal and Alexandra Hospitals. 

The initiative was a direct response to the challenges faced by staff when communicating with non-English speaking or d/Deaf patients in urgent and short-notice situations.

Word360’s vast expertise within language support and accessibility, focusing in the healthcare industry, has earned the company another partnership with Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Understanding the challenges faced by frontline staff and the aims of senior management teams across the NHS, Word360 embarked on a groundbreaking trial period from 15th March to 14th June 2023, introducing Wordskii on Wheels (WoW) portable interpreting devices in their A&E departments at Worcester Royal and Alexandra Hospitals.

Wordskii on Wheels is revolutionising urgent care and short notice language support, allowing non-English speakers to access a video interpreter in under 30 seconds. The mobile unit, which is easily accessible and transported across departments for ease of access, has been revolutionary in understanding the needs of patients with communication barriers across the NHS.

Understanding the challenges

Navigating the complexities of language barriers in healthcare settings is a persistent challenge. In situations requiring urgent communication with non-English speaking or d/Deaf patients, staff often grapple with ineffective communication methods, unreliable services, and technology barriers.

In identifying the challenges faced by staff and patients across the trust, Word360 proposed the launch of a Wordskii on Wheels trial. Although an interpreting telephone interpreting service was being utilised, it became apparent that a face-to-face service is a core requirement in healthcare. Given that an onsite interpreter is not always available within urgent timeframes, Wordskii on Wheels filled the gap.

Wordskii on Wheels, a dedicated device with an integrated tablet, provides access to on-demand video interpreters. The convenience of an interpreter, available bedside in emergency care departments is a game changing language support service enabling staff to reduce the time it takes to understand the needs of NES service users. The reduction in clinic times, rescheduling appointments and cost efficiencies have been paramount to the success of this successful trial.

Trial Benefits

The trial results were transformative, with significant improvements noted across various aspects:

  • 46% reduction in average length of bed stay
  • 67% reduction in the 7-day readmission rate
  • 26% reduction in the time required for admission decisions for non-English speaking patients

Enhanced Patient Experience:

  • Streamlined ward rounds and reduced staff training needs due to the device's user-friendly interface
  • 97% positive feedback from staff
  • Reduction in health inequalities and improved access to British Sign Language

Financial Efficiency:

  • 31% reduction in like-for-like usage costs compared to face-to-face interpreting
  • 99% reduction in wasted interpreter appointments
  • 100% reduction in cancellations and interpreter no-shows due to the on-demand nature of the service

Positive Staff Feedback

Staff found WoW devices to be invaluable, simplifying their interactions with patients. One staff member shared, "I used Google Translate with my patient initially, then a colleague told me about Wordskii. Despite my patient seeming to understand Google Translate to some degree, I repeated my questions and explanations with the interpreter, and it was obvious that they understood much more with the Wordskii interpreter. It is a vital piece of equipment for us in the ED."

Looking Ahead

Word360 is delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase their tech enabled solution in this successful trial, enabling Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to bridge communication gaps effectively. Kavita Parmar, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Word360, affirmed, "Promoting equitable access and overcoming communication barriers is at the core of what we do and with continuous technology advancements, we will continue to provide innovative solutions to deliver solutions that help both staff and service users across healthcare."

The WoW trial is an example how one element of an holistic approach can significantly enhance patient care while promoting efficient communication among staff. Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust's decision to adopt Wordskii on Wheels is a testament to the positive impact of technology-driven language services in healthcare settings, ensuring every patient receives the care they deserve, regardless of language barriers.

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