Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) has become the first UK care system to use a healthcare communications app that aids translation to help put an end to health inequalities.

The ICS has deployed the CardMedic app to all of its care providers, to remove communication barriers. It supports instant translation during consultations and treatment, using a mobile device. The digital platform holds an A-Z library of nearly 800 pre-written scripts that replicate conversations between patients and healthcare staff.

The content can be available in different languages; as sign language videos; in an easy-read with pictures format; or read-aloud. In addition, a translation tool supports conversations beyond the content of the scripts.

Sarah Haines, head of patient experience and engagement for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Communication is the first key barrier to health equity and, until you solve that, you can’t move forwards.

“Our medical colleagues in the Intensive Care Unit and elsewhere have been excited about using CardMedic, especially the British Sign Language and easy-read options.

“I’ve been blown away by the potential that CardMedic holds to improve patient experience and safety. It provides people who have struggled to fully participate in their care to be involved in shared decision making with clinicians. Working at ICS level means we can improve communication across multiple settings, enabling more and more people to access the standards of care that they deserve.”

CardMedic’s founder, Dr Rachael Grimaldi, was recently named Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, while CardMedic was Digital Health Rewired Pitchfest winner 2022.

Dr Sophia Morris, system clinical lead for inequalities, Mid and South Essex ICS, said: “Being able to ensure all our residents can experience equity of access to healthcare is at the heart of narrowing the gap in health and care inequalities in mid and south Essex. This app will ensure that those who need help communicating and accessing essential services can feel more confident of getting the help and care they need.”

Initially, the tool will be rolled-out at the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, with the ICS then moving to deploy it into primary care and community-based health settings.