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New 24-hour interpreting app being piloted in Ontario hospital

Doctor demonstration mobile app

As the first Canadian hospital to pilot a new language interpretation app called Voyce, Trillium Health Partners is helping patients of various backgrounds better understand their medical teams.

The pilot, which started in late June at the Mississauga Hospital site, connects patients in the diagnostic imaging unit to an interpreter within 30 seconds via a tablet equipped with the Voyce app. The interpreter relays information between the patient and nurse or physician as needed—and is available 24 hours a day.

So far, the app has been used to interpret for patients speaking Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Serbian and Sign Language, among others. Voyce works with professional interpreters trained in 235 languages and dialects.

“Canada is a country of immigrants where one in five people speak a language other than English or French, so I think we are addressing something that’s very big,” says Andrew Royce, CEO of Voyce. “It’s all about equity and servicing those populations that haven’t always been represented in the healthcare system.”

After living in Mississauga during the pandemic, Royce says the city was an optimal place to test the software in a hospital setting because of its diversity of cultures. “Mississauga really is one of the most diverse cities in the whole country so it’s a good opportunity for us and for them.”

The 90-day pilot aims assess for ease of use, ease of access and quality of the interpretation services provided. Royce says talks with other potential Canadian hospital sites are already in the works.

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