North East London Health and Care Partnership

CardMedic is helping families feel listened to throughout their maternity journey by empowering them to communicate with their care teams.

How CardMedic helped the Patel family receive more equitable maternity care from North East London Health and Care Partnership

North east London maternity services take care of more than 26,000 families per year. In north east London, over 250 languages besides English are spoken and over half of the population identifies as Black, Asian, or from an ethnic minority group. It also has one of the highest birth rates in the UK.

With such a diverse, growing population, North East London Integrated Care System (NEL ICS) was keen to make its services as inclusive as possible to enable all individuals to access appropriate care and thus improve health equity. However, language barriers were identified as a potential issue in delivering high quality care. This was particularly the case in maternity services.

To address these challenges, NEL ICS has developed a maternity Equity and Equality strategy and as part of this it is now working with CardMedic to support interpretation services in order to:


  • Listen to and support maternity service users in their care journey
  • Improve cultural awareness and make care more personalised and equitable
  • Improve safety for maternity service users
  • Enable more efficient use of translation and interpretation services
The challenge

Based on the research, NEL ICS understood that improving communication between service users and staff was a crucial part of improving care experiences. As such, when the ICS developed its maternity Equity and Equality strategy, use of tools such as CardMedic was built into the delivery plan.

The ICS, which covers the area served by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, and Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, contracted CardMedic for use across its maternity services, with the intention of enabling service users and their families to take a more active role in their care and feel listened to by staff.

The result

The ICS gave the individual trusts autonomy over the rollout at their sites, so they could go live more quickly. Within weeks, the maternity services across the ICS had CardMedic available to use.

In the first instance, the app has been intended to help improve perinatal pelvic health for people who need extra specialist care during or after their pregnancy. This includes people experiencing a language barrier, as well as those with learning difficulties, deafness or blindness.

The CardMedic app is available on mobile, tablet, and desktop so it can be easily downloaded onto the devices that staff use day to day. This means it can be easily integrated into staff workflows.

“Deploying CardMedic is helping us to bridge gaps in service provision and deliver more equitable maternity services.  It gives our service users the opportunity to play an active role in their care and supports clinicians to deliver more equitable care, irrespective of patients’ language or background.” 

Alice Compton, Maternity Digital and Data Workstream Manager, NEL Local Maternity and Neonatal System (NEL LMNS)

Other benefits

While CardMedic was initially commissioned to overcome language barriers, NEL ICS has since identified that it can be used to overcome other communication challenges. The app can be switched into British Sign Language (BSL) to help those who are deaf or have hearing problems, as well as Easy Read and Read Aloud for those with learning difficulties or visual impairment.

“We’re really pleased they have identified further uses for CardMedic outside of addressing traditional language barriers. The Easy Read, BSL and Read Aloud functions help to bridge even more gaps and improve health literacy.” – Dr Rachael Grimaldi, CEO and Co-Founder, CardMedic 

Next steps

Following the use of Cardmedic in maternity settings, consideration is now being given to how this may support other acute services in NEL.

“We know improvements need to be made to ensure pregnancy and birthing experiences are equitable, personalised and culturally appropriate for all of our service users, so by focusing on those who experience the poorest outcomes, we can make the greatest progress towards getting things right for everyone.”

Alice Compton, Maternity Digital and Data Workstream Manager, NEL LMNS

See the impact of CardMedic in action