Royal Oldham Hospital has launched a pilot to explore how video technology can aid translation in ante-natal clinics.
Interpretation and translation staff at the hospital will be able to link to a mobile device to see, talk to, hear and monitor patients remotely.
A video unit – the InTouch Vici device – will be installed within the ante-natal care outpatient department to support people who need interpretation and translation support.
The trial, part of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) fast follower programme with Salford Royal, uses the InTouch robotic system to connect staff, through a computer, to a high-definition camera for a clear view of the patient.
It also features a screen, speakers and microphone to enhance the two-way live link.
The trial will initially support three different languages – Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali- and will last for 13 weeks.
Nayla Rehan, interpretation and translation service manager of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “This service will speed up the way we offer support for people who cannot communicate well with the staff in our service.
“We are always looking to improve our patient experience and we hope that this new digital technology will really help everyone who needs this support.”
The service aims to reduce time and costs currently spent on staff travelling to and from hospitals across the region to provide the service.
Currently more than 100 staff are regularly used by the hospital to help interpret and translate more than 94 languages, including help with sign language.
The trial is the latest innovation to go live as part of the Northern Care Alliance Group’s GDE Fast Follower programme.
Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, chief clinical information officer at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, also a fast follower to Salford Royal, said: “We are really pleased to be working with InTouch to begin testing these two concepts to help improve things for staff and patients.
“We will be monitoring these projects closely and gathering the benefits before hopefully introducing similar practice across the trust.”