University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has agreed a deal with CardMedic to deploy an app to help NHS staff communicate with patients who have hearing or sight disabilities. 

The CardMedic app was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic to help healthcare professionals care for patients with hearing, sight or other disabilities that could hamper vital communication. It offers online flashcards to help guide patients through common clinical interactions. By doing so it can help improve the patient experience and enhance the care they receive.

Flashcards on the app are able to replicate conversations on a wide range of healthcare topics. Questions and explanations on the app have been developed by clinical professionals, and staff are also able to add free text. It’s able to address a number of communication barriers, as the content can be converted into different languages, sign language videos, easy read or read-aloud mode. It also has an integrated speech-to-text translation tool.

Barbara Harris, head of inclusion at the trust, said: “When shorter conversations need to take place, especially in the middle of the night, clinicians often feel they don’t want to disturb a translator. CardMedic bridges that gap to meet the needs of patients.

“You’ve got something that’s an absolutely instant way to communicate with your patients, and in so many language formats – that’s a major benefit.”

University Hospitals Sussex is the first acute trust to sign a commercial agreement with the company.

Dr Rachael Grimaldi, co-founder and CEO, CardMedic, addde: “We are so proud to launch CardMedic with University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust as our beacon acute secondary care site.

“Our relationship is a true reflection of what a multi-disciplinary team effort can achieve. Everyone involved shares our passion of putting clear patient communication at the heart of healthcare, improving patient experience and quality of care, and reducing health inequalities.”

The five-year contract will see UH Sussex NHS Trust roll out the app across the whole business domain of the Trust, which was formed from the merger of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bright and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. With a focus on joining up care across its five main hospital sites it recently partnered with System C to implement a care coordination platform.