Communication barriers in healthcare

Find out how CardMedic can help

CardMedic on mobile and tablet
CardMedic In Action
More than one in three people have additional communication needs, yet being able to communicate with a nurse or doctor is taken for granted. When communication gaps between healthcare professionals and patients exist, they negatively impact the quality and safety of care. Also, patients take longer to be triaged, take longer to be admitted, stay in hospital longer, and are more likely to be readmitted. This all adds to the ever-increasing pressures on patient flow and outcomes.
CardMedic In Action
If healthcare providers and patients aren’t able to understand each other, inevitably patient experience will be hindered. And, depending on the situation and message needing to be communicated, the outcomes for patients could be much more severe. Professional human interpreters are considered the gold standard, but face-to-face or telephone-based third-party intermediary solutions are intermittently available and expensive, and vary in clinical accuracy.

CardMedic provides an instantly available, 24x7x365 solution at a fraction of the cost, which helps healthcare make sense for people experiencing communication barriers.

Why alternatives to third-party intermediary interpreter solutions are needed

Why do communications barriers between healthcare providers and patients exist?

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How do communication barriers impact patient care?

Communication barriers have serious implications in healthcare settings and contribute significantly to widening health inequalities. If patients aren’t able to understand healthcare staff it can contribute to increased mortality, poorer medication compliance, and an increase in anxiety and fear felt by patients.

Lower quality care​

Wasted resources​

Decreased patient and
staff satisfaction

Increased costs​

Less engaged patients​

Avoidable strain on the wider
health and care system

How can healthcare providers overcome communication barriers?

Interpreters are a vital resource in healthcare settings, but they are scarce, and expensive. In the UK, on average NHS trusts spend £2.75m on interpreters every year, and in the USA healthcare providers, spend an average of $234 per patient with limited English proficiency per year. Our customers tell us that sometimes an interpreter is only available for one hour of a 12-hour shift. This means healthcare staff have to spend time finding an alternative solution, which could be spent on providing care. Telephone or video-based interpretation services can work well in some situations, but have their limitations. They also take up precious time to engage. Time which is often not afforded in emergency or critical care situations. Healthcare staff at times revert to using friends, family, other staff or machine-translation services as a last resort, but each of these solutions have their own limitations and risks.
"On a 12-hour shift, we would normally only have an interpreter on the ward with us for one hour to help us have the most important conversations about a patient’s care. For the other 11 hours, at times it could be really difficult to communicate."
Bethany Allen, Oncology Staff Nurse and Digital Nurse
Implementer at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

How can technology help improve clinician to patient communication?

Digital tools, like CardMedic, that are instantly available at the point of care are a safer, more efficient solution for patients and healthcare staff than other methods resorted to when professional interpreters are simply not available. CardMedic provides a library of pre-prepared content to guide common clinician-to-patient interactions, written by healthcare professionals, and human translated into over 40 languages including British Sign Language, as well as Easy Read formats. And, the investment required to provide CardMedic to every member of patient-facing staff, is a fraction of typical interpreter spend.

CardMedic benefits include:

For Patients
For Healthcare Staff
For Healthcare Providers

Book a 30 minute demo to discover how CardMedic is transforming care

See how our clinically powered platform makes care delivery faster and more understandable for everyone.

  • Provide equality of experience to patients
  • Enable consistency of service for providers
  • Improve efficiency of outcomes for hospitals

Trusted by some of the world's leading care settings

The Christie
Nor-Lea
North West London ICS