Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust goes live with CardMedic to improve health equity

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is the latest large healthcare provider to go live with CardMedic, the innovative communication app that is helping the NHS improve health equity and access to care.

The trust wide roll out to 7,500 staff follows a successful year-long pilot in the maternity department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Woolwich.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust delivers acute and community services to over one million people from numerous cultural and ethnic backgrounds and who speak over 100 languages.

CardMedic is now available across 60% of NHS service providers in London

CardMedic will help the trust deliver more accessible and equitable care through on-demand healthcare translation and interpreting support. The app features 1000s of ready-made clinical interactions in over 50 languages and formats. More than 20 NHS organisations, including North East London Integrated Care Board and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, use CardMedic.

The maternity team at QEH wanted to carry on using the system following the pilot, which was funded through the London Maternity Clinical Network.

The trust could see how CardMedic would help the wider nursing and community workforce communicate with patients. Lewisham public health funding enabled the trust to extend the solution to further target health inequalities.

“Once maternity staff started using CardMedic and saw what it could do, there was a ripple effect and they started recommending it to their colleagues,” said the trust’s Chief Nursing Information Officer Amanda Fitzsimons. “Our nursing and midwifery directors saw its potential and are now driving its adoption across the trust.”

Support for interpreting teams and improving patient safety

CardMedic works alongside the trust’s existing interpreting service to help the trust provide high-quality services to its non-English speaking patients, especially when face-to-face interpreting support is unavailable.

“We use interpreting services such as telephone and in-person translators on ward rounds and for scheduled appointments. The gap in care comes when there are quick conversations you have with a patient, such as when you are doing observations or taking blood and you want to explain what you want the patient to do, and why. CardMedic helps us bridge that gap,” said Amanda.

Staff appreciate that using mainstream online translation tools is not safe for conversations about health. Such tools are not clinically reviewed and don’t always translate technical medical terms well. This could create confusion for a patient.

“We need to make sure that what we’re communicating with our patients is correct. CardMedic provides that reassurance that everything is interpreted correctly by a professional. It’s been checked by someone clinical who speaks the language, which is important,” said Amanda.

Translation and interpretation support in an instant

The app has been live at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust since January and is already gathering positive feedback. Staff have described it as a good communication tool and appreciate the wide range of scripts available. The live translate functionality with microphone option is also proving useful.

As well as providing a responsive interpreting and translation service, CardMedic can help avoid delays and provide a better patient experience.

“CardMedic helps staff talk with the patient and get a better understanding of their needs,” said Amanda. “Being able to ask simple questions such as ‘what would you like to eat?’ or ‘can I take your blood pressure?’ enables staff to provide patients with the right type of support and rule out certain conditions or the need to do as many tests. Colleagues can carry out checks more quickly, smoothing out care delivery and potentially lead to cost savings.”

Building on successful improvement to communication in maternity services

The trust hopes to replicate the success of CardMedic in maternity by promoting its use across the whole organisation.

CardMedic Co-Founder and CEO Dr Rachael Grimaldi said: “Maternity teams recognise the importance of consistently good communication around the clock, so it is encouraging to hear how positive feedback from midwives has led to the wider adoption of CardMedic at the trust. CardMedic is available 24/7 and helps ensure that communication barriers do not get in the way of great care.

“Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust joins several other healthcare providers across London using CardMedic to provide instant communication support to a diverse and dynamic population. We’re proud to be helping to improve health equity and care productivity in the capital and elsewhere.”

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